Over the weekend we were in Vegas celebrating a friend’s birthday. We were having dinner at the “Atelier by Joel Robuchon” (review to come later) and after tasting the mashed potato a friend of mine jokingly asked the waiter “is there any butter in the potatoes?”. The waiter said “not just some butter, but the best butter in the world”. We had to follow up with “what’s the name” and he cameback with “Eshire”.

I am not a big butter fan (as most people from olive-oil rich southern European countries) and I found the idea of the “best butter in the world” very interesting. I had to research a bit more!

Time to start looking for the “best butter in the world”.  I started looking in the usual spots (google, live, etc…) and surprisingly did not find as much as I thought.  Regardless I did find something.

First I found a good history of butter. Wikipedia has a good intro and there is a another good one here.

5 Star Butter claims to be the best.  I did not see any proof or awards, but they claim that the best chefs in Vegas use it.  Don’t know…it did not convince me.

An interesting one is Organic Valley.  They don’t claim to be the best butter in the world, but the best butter in US.  They have a LONG list of awards to prove it.  There is the usual problem with awards….there are a gazillion of them, so lots of people could win one.  Regardless, this seems a good everyday choice.

Back to our story in Vegas.  The butter that the waiter mentioned is “Echire”.  It’s a French butter.  Here’s short description from Amazon:

“famed artisan French butter, from the milk of cows of the small village of Poitiers and La Rochelle. Known as one of the best butters in France, Echire butter is served in the finest dining establishments (which is why the French covet this butter and keep 85% of the production within France). This sophisticated butter won AOC protected status, and is produced mostly by hand. This bar of Beurre Echire has a light texture, lightly salted, and subtle flavor make this butter just about divine. ”

I found out that Echire is also used by the pastry chef at Le Cirque.  It seems that with two big French restaurants using it, this Echire butter must be pretty good.  Amazon carries a few different sizes.

During the search I also found couple of other reccomendations.  The guys at Forward Food recommend “Le Gall Beurre de Baratte”.  Their review is good and the comments seem to confirm that.

Another butter that came up with lots of awards is a Danish one: Lurpak.  Aside from the awards I have no way to validate whether this is indeed the best butter.

Anyway, as researched a bit more I found a great article about the Franco-American butter dispute.  It briefly discusses what the best butter is and surprise surprise the answer is “depends”.  But it does mention Echire as being used by some big shot patry chefs. 

Although I did not find what the best butter in the world is,  I have at least verified that this Echire butter is indeed very good.

If you have any preference or definitely know the best butter in the world, please let me know!

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This seems a little out of season, but it is always a great one.  It seems easy to prepare (and it is on paper), but it require good execution.  The downside is that this dish can easily become very dry and the pasta will stick together…a true disaster.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of clams
  • 1/2 pound of linguini (see it on Amazon)
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 
  • a clove of garlic 
  • Salt, pepper and few hot chilli flakes (optional)
  • couple of fresh tomatoes (go organic)
  • italian parsley (optional)
  • half glass of white wine

The easy steps:

Step #0 – Start boiling plenty of water in a pot.  This dish is actually really quick, by the time you get the sauce going you should have the pasta cooking.  I usually start making the sauce as the water starts boiling and I put the pasta in.

Step #1 – In a deeper pan throw in olive oil, chopped garlic and the clams. Cook it over medium heat.  After a few minutes the clams will start opening up and release water.  Here’s a quick tip: take some of the water released by the clam and set it aside, it will be useful later to make sure that the sauce does not get too dry.

The clams

Step #2 – After you save some of the water add the white wine and let it reduce for couple of minutes.  At this point add the fresh tomatoes and season with pepper/salt. Cook for for about three minutes.

Clams with tomatoes

Step #3 – You are about done with the sauce.  This is where you need to make a judgement call on how how dry the sauce is.  If it seems a little dry add some of the clams’ water you saved.  If you do so, make sure you cook it for a minute or so.  The pasta should be done by now and it’s time to blend.  Add the parsley, the chilli flakes and extra pepper.

Blending the pasta 

Step #4 – You are done.  Time to plate!

pasta is ready

Enjoy! 

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