Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Picky Picky

Some alert readers of my blog, and yes, apparently some of my readers are alert, pointed out that you can't really properly fry a steak in either regular or clarified butter, that you can't get it hot enough. You are correct.

Julia suggests you fry a steak in either fresh beef suet (and, silly me, I was out) or equal parts butter and vegetable oil. The butter and vegetable oil combination is what I used.

Also, if you read "Julie & Julia,' Julie Powell says she clarified butter by heating it and then skimming the foam off of the top. This is not completely correct. You do heat the butter and skim off the foam, but that is only half of the process.

When you heat the butter it will separate and the fat solids will drop to the bottom of the pan. It is the fat solids that burn at a lower temperature than the clear butter which will remain on top. Carefully draw off the clear butter and you will have your clarified butter. You can use the fat solids which remain as an addition to sauces that call for butter.

Clarified butter can be heated to a higher temperature than regular butter and is what I used for the fried potatoes. I used regular butter for the green beans because you just toss the blanched beans with the butter, you don't actually cook them in the butter. I also just used regular butter with the oil for the steak.

Hint 1: You can use two parts regular butter to one part vegetable oil in place of clarified butter, but that is really being lazy. Note - For frying the steak you use half regular butter and half vegetable oil - you can heat this to a higher temperature than either clarified butter or it's substitute.

Hint 2: Juila Child says to use salted butter in her recipes unless unsalted is specifically called for. This was good news to me, because I always use salted butter. Many people suggest using unsalted butter and then adding salt to the recipe to compensate. To me, this just doesn't work. Salted butter seems to have a totally different taste to it.