“Herbed” Butter with Warm Bread

Excerpted from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2017. Photographs by Laura Dart and A.J. Meeker.

March 21, 2018

Preparation

This is one of my favorite things to have on the table during the spring and summer. It’s impossible to write a precise recipe for this, so use this as a guide to set you up for success.

Bread and butter all by itself is one of the perfect things in life. Good butter—grassfed, real butter; the yellow, almost cheeselike butter—is popping up at farmers’ markets in small batches and is even showing up on supermarket shelves. Butter has gotten a bad rap, but finally the nutrition world is realizing that it’s actually quite good for us. One of the healthiest, most brilliant people I know—Eliot Coleman of Four Season Farm in Maine—thinks it’s the perfect food. He eats it almost like peanut butter, spread on the bread so thickly that he can see his teeth marks after he takes a bite.

Here’s how you do it:

Smear the butter flat on a cutting board or plate, season generously with flaky salt, several cranks of black pepper and a sprinkle of chile flakes. Then just start layering on the greens and herbs, some grated citrus zest if you have it, toss on some chopped pickles or capers and keep adding. Place on the table with a nice warm country loaf to rip into and let the good times begin. I’ve never put this on a table without it prompting a lot of conversation and happy faces.

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