Fan of the butter board? Well, your options for appetizer boards don’t stop there.
Our test kitchen was fully on-board (heh, heh) with the trend. Mulling it over, Test Kitchen Director Belle English realized that burrata (that divine mix of cream and mozzarella curds) also spreads well, and could be a perfect Thanksgiving appetizer, to boot. We asked Belle for a bit more of her board-building genius. Here are her tips.
“Start with high-quality, unsalted butter,” says Belle, “since it’s the star of the show.” She likes European butters such as Plugra “since they tend to have a higher fat content than domestic, so they’re creamier and spread well.”
Think: non-porous. “A plate or marble surface is better than wood, since the fat will seep into anything that’s wooden.”
There are no shortcuts for the texture you want, friend. “Leave the butter on the kitchen countertop to bring to room temp,” says Belle. She warns, “No shortcuts in the microwave, since you want your butter to be uniformly creamy with no liquefied pools of fat.”
1. Sweet Butter Board
People love butter boards because they’re a combination of easy and easy-on-the-eyes. That certainly applies to this sweet butter board. (Ideally, you’re making your own butter, which we explain how to do here.) For sweet boards, Belle says, “you should have combo of fresh elements like berries, mint or hunks of honeycomb with elements that are more traditionally sweet, like shaved chocolate, Nutella, and jam.” And don’t forget pops of color, for which she likes edible flowers, berries or other fruit.
For the concoction seen above, simply spread one pound of butter on a board, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with flaky salt, add bite-sized pieces of honeycomb, and layer in blackberries and edible flowers. Serve alongside thinly sliced baguette or crackers.
2. Burrata Board
3. Savory Butter Board
“For savory butter boards, you can’t go wrong,” says Belle. She was inspired by a restaurant where they paired olive tapenade and lardo on a board. “I love that combo.”
“Adding different textures is nice,” she adds, which is “the same philosophy as a cheese board.” Think: “something with nutty crunch, something sweet, and something cured.” Unsalted butter is a good move in general, but particularly crucial for a savory board, so you can control flavors and saltiness overall.
For this Italophile’s dream appetizer, softened butter mingles with olive oil, flaky salt, olive tapenade, olives, crispy prosciutto, rosemary and edible flowers.
Now the appetizer spread board is not limited to butter or burrata, of course. Consider hummus and shaved vegetable chips, muhamara and shellfish, or a bowl of aioli flanked by seasonal crudités. Give free reign to your creativity and a nod to personal preference, and you’re sure to craft an appetizer board that will be the center of any gathering.