Compound butter or beurrè compose are fancy names for simple great flavor. Compound butters are one of the best secrets for adding rock star flavor to dishes. They can be sweet or savory, require no recipes and can be put together in no time. I always have a stash of them in the freezer, ready to pop out on a moment’s notice. This is also an excellent way to use up the herbs from my patio pots since some of them won’t winter over.
Sweet or savory
You can make sweet butters with honey, cinnamon, maple syrup, orange or lemon zest – the possibilities are endless! Spread on bread, scones, waffles, pancakes or cornbread.
Whip up savory butters with herbs, garlic, shallots, lemon zest and spices. Add savory butter to cooked steak, chicken or fish and use it to create a elegant sauce for the main course. You can also add flavored butter to grilled veggies or corn on the cob. Saute shrimp in a compound butter for extra flavor.
Making compound butter
Last week I made three savory compound butters – garlic and chive, tarragon, and rosemary and paprika. Start with a stick of softened, unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt needed. Whip the butter until fluffy, by hand or with a mixer. Stir in your flavors (don’t forget a pinch of salt), scoop onto parchment paper or plastic wrap, then roll into a log. Label and date, then store in the refrigerator to become solid if you’re going to use it right away. Pop it into the freezer for future use.
My booklist below is not entirely about compound butters, although I did find books published around this subject! My list consists of the hot new books about food or cooking that would make great gifts for your favorite foodie.