I have fallen in love with creme fraiche. For so long I’ve relegated it to a once-in-awhile luxury reserved to be in used in “fancy” recipes when entertaining people whom I’ve deemed worthy. Silly me. It wasn’t until I realized I could make it for myself, at a fraction of the cost, that it became a fridge staple.
First, let me take a moment to convince you why you need creme fraiche in your life. Reason number one: Have I ever steered you wrong? I hope the answer is no. Reason number two: Whatever food item that gets the privilege of being mixed with creme fraiche instantly becomes impossibly creamy with a soft, pleasing tang. Not an in-your-face sourness that is more in the veins of sour cream, but rather a subtle sharpness that works like salt to balance the dish and highlight the flavors you’ve worked so hard to introduce.
Creme fraiche marries beautifully with this season’s flavors. A creme fraiche ice cream with a side of roasted rhubarb perhaps or a slightly creamy dressing to accentuate the delicate sweetness of butter lettuce. I think I have proven my case.
Creme fraiche literally means “fresh cream” but it’s not. It is a cultured product soured with the addition of bacteria. The process of making your own creme fraiche is simple and very rewarding. My favorite method is to simply take 1 cup of fresh cream (if possible try not to use an ultra-pasteurized product) then add to that 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Stir that together then let it sit out all day. Once the cream has thickened, cover well and place in the fridge where it will keep for at least one week.
Now that you have your very own supply you can use it in dressings and sauces to finish fish or poultry. Top potatoes with it and use it to add a light creaminess to soups. Whatever you choose to add it to you won’t be disappointed. I rest my case.
by Ashley Rodriguez
Chef, food blogger, and full-time mom. Read more of her writings at www.notwithoutsalt.com