The most powerful force in the Universe is compound butter.
– Albert Einstein
OK. I can’t back up that Albert Einstein ever said this about compound butter. In fact it’s unlikely he ever actually uttered the famous quote about interest often attributed to him at all. But had he ever enjoyed the wonders of compound butter, or thought deeply about it, he surely would have sung it praises.
What is compound butter anyway? Simply put, it’s a mixture of butter and additional ingredients that can be used as a finishing sauce on its own or added to other sauces for a boost of flavor. It isn’t as common as it should be these days, but there was a time it was a staple in every steakhouse across the land. There is nothing quite like a perfectly cooked filet with a slab of garlic herb compound butter melting away on top. But compound butters aren’t just for meat. They can elevate just about any dish that is crying for some richness and sauce, from vegetables to fish, to, let’s face it, plain old toast.
The best part is that compound butter is ridiculously easy to make at home. You have have a log of it chilling in the fridge in just a few minutes. Not only can it elevate your dishes, it can add a touch of sophistication at your holiday table as well. I’ll provide a basic formula below, but feel free to experiment with whatever combination of ingredients tickle your imagination.
I find that for every 1/2 cup of butter, you want about two to three tablespoons of other ingredients (of course your mileage may vary depending on the strength of the ingredients you are using).
Basic Garlic and Herb Compound Butter
One stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
Two cloves of garlic, finely minced
One tablespoon each of finely chopped parsley, chives, and oregano
Pinch kosher or sea salt
Let the butter come to room temperature until softened. In a bowl, combine butter, garlic, herbs, and salt. Use a fork and mash or “cream” the butter and additional ingredients until well combined, about two or three minutes. Transfer mixture to a sheet of parchment or wax paper and form into a rough “log” shape. Roll the paper up, forming a log of butter. Twist the ends of the paper shut and tie with string. Chill in the fridge for up to three days or freeze for up to a month.
Slice disks of chilled compound butter for serving.
Other Compound Butter Flavoring Ideas
Here are a few compound butter flavor ideas off the top of my head to inspire you:
Sriracha, lime and smoked paprika (1 TBSP Sriracha, 1 TBSP fresh lime juice, lime zest, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, pinch salt)
Tomato paste and fresh basil
Lemon and garlic
Apricot and honey
Chile powder and cilantro
Brown sugar, chopped pecans, and cinnamon
Connect with The Kitchen Counter Podcast!
If you liked what you heard, please consider subscribing in iTunes or in the Google Play Music store. You can also help out the show by leaving a positive review wherever you find your favorite podcasts (you know you want to)!