How Alex Guarnaschelli Elevates Her Butter For Bread Rolls

"Butter makes it better," your grandmother may have said. Honestly, we'd have to agree. There's just something about that creamy, fatty, salty deliciousness that makes everything it comes in contact with that much better. Butter is quite versatile, as you're probably aware, and is a vital ingredient in all sorts of delicious things like flaky Danish butterhorns or a juicy spatchcocked Cornish game hen. But when it comes to being a great chef, it really boils down to how well you can handle the basics. Think scrambled eggs, a perfect roast chicken, or even simple bread and butter. Chef Alex Guarnaschelli from the Food Network knows a thing or two about being a great cook, and she shares tips and tricks on her Instagram so you, too, can elevate your cooking game.

Recently, she posted about the humble bread and butter and how to make it seem restaurant-quality right in your home. It's already a great start to any meal, and the small details are all the difference in a straightforward plate like this. Things like a warm, crunchy piece of bread and smooth, spreadable butter make the whole thing feel more put together and prove that the basics really can be the tastiest. And they don't need to feel "basic" at all; following Chef Alex's tip will have your guests thinking you spent the whole day in the kitchen.

You'll never be bored with a butter board

Whether your butter is a dark yellow, grass-fed Irish butter or right from a local farm, it is a wonderful complement to any meal and can stand on its own, too. According to The New York Times, butter boards (basically just a fancy excuse to eat butter with bread or crackers) are the new charcuterie board. Spread your butter artfully on a plate or wood, sprinkle with toppings of choice, and serve.

It's an artsy way to elevate a simple ingredient, but if you don't want to go through the trouble of a butter board or you aren't artistically inclined in that way, Alex Guarnaschelli has you covered with a quick and easy way to take your bread and butter appetizer to the next level. Step one, let the butter get to room temperature so it's easy to spread. Step two, sprinkle the top with some crisp sea salt and give it a healthy coat of fresh cracked black pepper. Step three, serve it with some warm and toasty bread and a knife, and watch as your guests savor the simplicity yet sheer delight that is warm bread and butter.

It's not a far cry from the world of compound butter, but with way fewer steps and less creativity required. Though by all means, if you want to serve a flavorful and complex compound butter to go with your bread, we don't want to dull your shine!

Quick tips for incredible softened butter

Whichever route you take, having perfectly spreadable butter is one of those luxuries that just makes the whole experience better. But we know the feeling of panic when your guests are coming over in 10 minutes and you forgot to take the butter out of the fridge. Luckily, when time isn't on your side, you can still get your butter ready for spreading. It's as simple as slicing your butter, then taking a bowl, filling it with water, and microwaving it until it bubbles. Dump out the hot water, invert the bowl over the stick of butter on a plate (or just stick the butter right in the warm microwave — without the water), and let the steamy indirect heat soften the butter for you in just a few minutes. 

Now that you know how to make soft butter in a jif, you can take some creative liberties. Compound butters aren't technically difficult to pull together, and will really impress your guests. You can keep it simple and sweet by mixing soft butter with cinnamon and sugar for your morning toast, or go the umami route and use it on sandwiches, roasted vegetables, or even grilled meat. Korean BBQ compound butter is sure to be a topic of conversation at the dinner table and goes great over steak, while a fresh spring herb compound butter is delicious simply smeared on a nice, crunchy piece of French bread. The best part is, there's no wrong way to use butter, and you can put in as much or as little time and effort as you please.