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.
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.
Herb Crème Fraiche
• 1/2 cup crème fraiche*
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
• 2 teaspoons minced fresh basil
• 2 teaspoons minced fresh mint
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, add the crème fraiche, chives, basil, mint, salt, and a few generous turns of the pepper grinder. Stir well until the herbs are evenly mixed into the cream. Refrigerate until ready to use.
*Creme fraiche is sold in the dairy section near the cheese of specialty markets and some supermarkets. For more details on how to make crème fraiche, go to Dash and Bella.