Smoked Salmon and butter: Your thoughts?

On this trip to France I have eaten many more restaurant meals than on past trips. It has been a fascinating experience. Tonight presented one of the dilemmas that sometimes confronts you. We were eating the 22 Euro "Menu" and the second course was smoked salmon. There was nothing unique about smoked salmon: I was more looking forward to the following course with its "Coers de Canard" (ducks hearts). However: the smoked salmon was presented together with a lemon (understandable) and a large curl of butter.

What was I supposed to do with the butter? Was it purely a garnish? Perhaps they had no parsley but there was a large piece of butter handy, so they gave me a curl? Dennis also got a large curl of button with his slices of ham.

I assume it was probably a garnish, used in a country with so many cows they need to invent superfluous things to do with the output. But experimentally I put a little bit onto my smoked salmon, and it didn't taste too bad at all. I could imagine the two going together. For example, it works much better than another common food combination: vinegar with lettuce. I've no idea why vinegar is used as a dressing for lettuce instead of (to pick something at random) cayenne pepper. But we eat it because a) it's what we do and b) admittedly it does liven up the taste of the lettuce.

A cow grazing at the Col de Soulor, Pyrenees, France. Altitude: just under 1474 metres.

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Anthony Holmes October 13th, 2011 06:58:02 AM