Beloved Butter Pairings

Sure, a drizzle of olive oil in your spring pea soup is swell, but when it comes to this bright-flavored dish, we think a pat of butter is even better; it gives the soup a rich, rounded texture.
Methodically eating a steamed artichoke, dunking one leaf after another in melted butter and then scraping away the tender flesh with our teeth, is one of our favorite ways to celebrate spring; the butter complements the vegetable's earthiness and tames its astringency.
Saucisson sec (or salami) and butter on a baguette, a bistro snack in France, is a revelatory combination for those unaccustomed to pairing butter with cured meat; the butter softens the meat's sharp flavors and adds another delicious dimension.
Few dishes express the understated refinement of Italian cookery better than spaghetti with butter, grated parmigiano-reggiano, and black pepper; butter bridges the nutty-tasting cheese and the pepper's heat to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
Woodsy-tasting morel mushrooms soak up butter like little sponges when the two ingredients are united in a saute pan. The mushrooms, in turn, release their juices in a deeply flavored sauce.
In the Netherlands and Indonesia (formerly a Dutch colony), white bread with butter and chocolate sprinkles is a favorite breakfast treat. The combination calls to mind a deconstructed pain au chocolat.
Nothing satisfies quite like a generous smear of butter on a plain old saltine cracker; it's no-frills bliss.

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