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Does butter help release flavours?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Does butter help release flavours?  I just made a carbonara and I added butter when I was frying of my onions bacon and garlic.  It seemed to boos the flavours.  Does butter help release flavours?

post #2 of 9


Butter imparts its own unique richness to most dishes. I would not say it releases flavors.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post
 


Butter imparts its own unique richness to most dishes. I would not say it releases flavors.

 

Exactly what I was thinking. Butter does bring it's own unique richness and flavor especially depending how it is handled in the dish.....i.e. the degree you allow the solids to caramelize.

 

To take this one step further, the addition of any "fat" to a dish will allow the flavors to appear enhanced. The fat sort of binds everything together and gives it something more substantial to be presented to the palette. The best example is plain old oil and vinegar dressing. The vinegar alone is what it is but when you present it with the oil, it changes everything. Trouble is......as most of us have learned as we get older.......life isn't the same when you're forced to reduce or even remove the fat, especially butter.

post #4 of 9

Fats absorb flavours.

 

Anyone who has stored unwrapped/poorly wrapped butter next to onions, or garlic, or curry, or heavily smoked foods, know that the butter will taste like that, and very quickly too.

 

You can avoid this, or use it to your advantage.  A lot of Chefs will store truffles in a mason jar with butter, or even eggs, to get some flavor.  When I make fruitcake, I like to blend my butter with aromatics a day ahead of time to boost the flavor, then make the batter a day or so later.

 

As chocolate contains a lot of fat (cocoa butter) it will pick up odours/flavours very quickly.  Even packaging can impart off-flavours if you are not carefull.  

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

I'm just trying to figure out what helped release the garlic taste.  When is a good time to add garlic on a dish like carbonara? Is it just after you have put the onions in? I'm wondering if perhaps it was cooked for longer and that helped.  I'm always worried about burning garlic but maybe adding it earlier helps release the flavour more.

post #6 of 9
Was it salted butter?
Most butter contains salt. That could be the reason. wink.gif
Mikael
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisBristol View Post
 

I'm just trying to figure out what helped release the garlic taste.  When is a good time to add garlic on a dish like carbonara? Is it just after you have put the onions in? I'm wondering if perhaps it was cooked for longer and that helped.  I'm always worried about burning garlic but maybe adding it earlier helps release the flavour more.

 

Garlic is one of the aromatics with cooking. Garlic also contains sugars that aid in it's ability to caramelize. Roasted and toasted garlic are good examples. You can slow or hasten it with the amount of fat (butter or oil) you add as well. The drier the pan the quicker it will burn. As an example, toasted garlic, you have it basically swimming in fat. Roasted, it's only to coat. If you're concerned about burning or using too much fat, control the heat.

 

As far as when, I've seen some add it with the onions and/or panchetta and I tend to add it just after. Adding it earlier will allow more of the raw flavor to be cooked out or mellowed.There's a definite balance and something you'll have to decide on with your own taste. IMHPO, Carbonara is not a dish I enjoy with a heavy, raw garlic flavor but it does need garlic to be prevalent.

 

How are you binding your dish? Are you using a liaison?


Edited by oldschool1982 - 6/14/14 at 5:25am
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisBristol View Post
 

I'm just trying to figure out what helped release the garlic taste.  When is a good time to add garlic on a dish like carbonara? Is it just after you have put the onions in? I'm wondering if perhaps it was cooked for longer and that helped.  I'm always worried about burning garlic but maybe adding it earlier helps release the flavour more.

 

I got into homebrewing before I really got into cooking, and use garlic in cooking as I would hops in brewing. There are hops that you add at the start of your boil to add bitterness and depth of flavor to a beer, and hops you use at the end of the boil for aromatics. Similarly, I add garlic in different stages depending on what I'm going for.

Experiment! Next time, do two small batches in two pans at the same time, and use garlic as your variable. See what you like!

post #9 of 9
Butter is what I would call a flavor enhancer, similar to salt... While it's not very good on its own it can definetly add to the effect of many things.. Which is why you can make a unlimited amount of flavored butters to add to a dish.
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