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I set out two weekends ago to make a few different batches of compound butter. Compound butter is one of those things that I used to get in restaurants and be kind of amazed by. It is a really nice way to finish off a dish. Only recently did I realize how freakin’ easy it is to make.
If you don’t know what compound butter is it is basically butter that has been softened, mixed with various flavors, and then re-chilled to form a solid stick again. It makes for a great presentation and the flavors really penetrate the butter nicely.
I like to make a bunch at a time, or a bunch of different kinds, and then store them. I decided to make three different logs of butter on this occasion and I just pulled some things I had in my pantry together.
Compound butter is a fantastic way to use fresh herbs that are going to go bad.
For each log of butter you need about 5 or 6 Tablespoons of butter. For my three logs of butter, I used two whole sticks of butter – 2/3s of a stick per log. Get it?
Save yourself some arm strain and let the butter come to room temperature before mixing it with your ingredients.
Mash up your butter really well to get it soft. Then add in your flavorings!
I did one with 1 Tablespoon of horseradish.
Or try 2 Tablespoons of tarragon. Horseradish is stronger than tarragon so you need more tarragon. You following me?
Or if you want to get really compound you could do 1 Tablespoon of finely chopped onions and a Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. The vinegar doesn’t want to combine with the butter at all, but if you stir it well it will eventually absorb most of it.
If you didn’t notice, you are basically looking for 2 Tablespoons of additions or 1 Tablespoon if you are dealing with a particularly strong flavor. Experiment!
Dump these mixtures out onto a strip of wax paper or parchment paper and then roll over the paper to form a log. If you press it down with your hand it will stretch out. Your goal is to make an even log that doesn’t have a lot of air bubbles.
It isn’t too hard.
Once it is wrapped you can store it like that in the fridge for a week or two or wrap it in plastic wrap and foil and freeze it for months. The plastic wrap and foil layers will keep out freezer burn and any gross flavors. I think the optimum time to use it though is in the 1 week – 3 week range. That gives the flavors lots of time to mellow, but also cuts down on the risk of other freezer/fridge hazards.
Labels are important also if you are like me.
Now when you are ready to use one, just slice a coin off, unwrap it, and plop it on your food.
What can you put these one? All kinds of stuff:
- Steaks or pork chops
- Steamed Vegetables
- Anything else you could put butter on…
I’ll be using these butters in various dishes over the next few weeks. So stay on the lookout.
Do you have any ideas for compound additions? Leave a comment!