French butter has long been lauded as one of the true flavour enhancers of the world; it’s now making its way into the most important meal of the day during Ramadan as chefs look to utilise the versatile ingredient in a range of iftar dishes.
One such chef is Ahmed Ali, Head Chef of Middle Eastern restaurant, Ninive, who has developed an entire iftar menu using the finest French butter. The menu showcases how the 100% natural ingredient can be used in traditional and local recipes to make them more flavourful and colourful, transforming a classic dish into a taste sensation.
Discussing the benefits of using French butter in cooking, Chef Ali says: “For me, it’s a mainstay whenever I’m cooking. Its versatility means I can use it in any dish to elevate taste, which was particularly relevant during this challenge to take the standard iftar menu and add a butter twist. Because the manufacturing principles of French butter have remained the same for centuries, I know the ingredients’ quality remains at the very highest level, therefore significantly adding to all attributes of the dish.
With each dish in the menu, I used a range of techniques to incorporate the butter. For the soup, I whisked in the ingredient for a creamier finish, while for the spiced carrot dukkah I blended it in for a richer consistency. I was also able to use butter to create a golden colour on the chicken birwat.”
In addition, Chef Ali created a range of flavoured butter with bread and roasted dates in butter to break the fast. Bread-coated in butter and then placed in the oven accompanied by a fattoush salad, baby gem lettuce and mujadarra, the sardines were given the butter treatment to add taste, colour and consistency.
For the main course, Chef Ali pan-fried all meats with butter before being placed in the oven to create a succulent mixed grill. The vegetable tagine was sauteed in butter, creating a melt-in-the-mouth sensation rounded out by a fish sayadieh, onion rice, nuts and raisins, all enhanced by butter.
And what iftar would be complete without the staple dessert of umm ali? Chef Ali glazed the puff pastry in French butter to add to the taste and round off the menu.
Marie-Laure Martin, International Project Manager from CNIEL, says: “We’re once again shining a light on the adaptability of French butter and underscoring how it can be used in any dish, at any time of the year, to add taste, colour and consistency.
And it’s not just restaurants and chefs who can use French butter. The results are equally as tasty when it’s used at home!”