I wrote about crème fraiche several weeks ago after stumbling upon a recipe singing its culinary praises. I’ve made several batches since then, ultimately doling it out to friends lest I O.D. on all its creamy lusciousness.
Crème fraiche is so easy to make, you ought to give it a try. Pour two cups of heavy cream and one cup of buttermilk into a big jar, put on the lid and give it a hearty shake. Leave the lid open a little and set it in a warm spot in the kitchen for two to three days, shaking it a couple times a day. The liquid will thicken and the cultures of the buttermilk will invade the cream, resulting in a velvety, rich, tangy wonder. You can also do this in a bowl covered loosely with plastic wrap, stirring the cream with a spoon instead of shaking a jar.
Like it’s uncultured cousin, butter, a little goes a long way with crème fraiche. Sweeten it lightly with honey or brown sugar and add just a spoonful to berries for a lovely little dessert. Or give it a savory turn by adding fresh chives, basil, and mint, along with a pinch of salt. Voila, herb crème fraiche.
and underneath summer’s first heirloom tomatoes
and, of course, slathered onto crispy flatbread along with smoked salmon and sliced cucumbers
I loved it best, though, served with a platter of grilled vegetables as a main course. When dinner was sizzling on the barbecue, Mr. Mom’s Kitchen and the kids wondered aloud where the rest of their dinner had gone. Was there no garlic-marinated lamb chops or pepper-crusted ribeye to go along with the veggies?
But once the table was laden with all the gorgeous vegetables, a basket of grilled bread, and a green salad, everyone tucked in without a word, polishing off every tender grilled potato and sweet, charred onion, leaving not a trace of the herb crème fraiche behind.
Cook any vegetables you enjoy over a grill and serve them warm with herb creme fraiche and crusty or grilled bread on the side.
- Heaping 1/2 cup crème fraiche (see Notes)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Favorite grilled vegetables for serving
- In a small bowl, whisk together the crème fraiche, chives, basil, mint, olive oil, salt, and a few generous turns of the pepper grinder. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Serve in a small bowl with a spoon alongside vegetables.
Creme fraiche is sold in the dairy section near the cheese of specialty markets and some supermarkets.