Compound butter, which simply put, is butter with stuff added to it. The great thing about them, is they can and should be made ahead, chilled and/or frozen, so you have them on hand. The Goddess is all about having things on hand to work with and make her life easier. These little nuggets of saucy goodness offer huge flavor and versatility. It’s simplicity at its very best. The Goddess does prefer to add a bit of olive oil to her butters. It helps with the melting factor, adds flavor (and who doesn’t want the most flavor possible?) and prevents the butter from freezing too hard, thus making slicing easier…there’s that “easy” part again. The Goddess seems to focus a bit too much on easy, doesn’t she? We’re not talkin’ virtue here people, though…Nevermind…!
Moving on…You can add just about anything to make a compound butter. We did see some in the herb posting, but here are some other options for you. Here are a couple of things to think about. Try to limit liquid to a couple of tablespoons or the butter can become too soft. If you swap liquid for oil, tablespoon for tablespoon, you’ll be fine.
Basic Compound Butter and Friends
- 1 stick (1/4-pound) unsalted butter, softened
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Cream the butter with a mixer until light. With mixer running, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Add the salt and pepper. Beat in the ingredients to make whichever butter you wish to make. These recipes can all be doubled or tripled.
Let stand for one hour then, roll into a log with waxed paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate for use in 1-2 days. To freeze: Wrap the chilled log in plastic wrap, place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month.
TO USE: Cut into 1/4-inch thick slices from either the chilled or frozen log. Put unused portion back in the fridge or freezer. Place one or two slices on top of HOT meat, poultry, fish or toss with pasta.
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- Pinch of salt
In a saucepan, cook the maple syrup down to 1 tablespoon; cool completely. Add all ingredients to the basic recipe; beat just until well combined and proceed as directed in the Basic recipe. This is excellent on salmon, chicken, root vegetables, winter squash, and sweet potatoes.
NOTE: For Tangerine Butter: Substitute 1 tablespoon coarsely grated tangerine zest for the orange zest, omit the maple syrup and add 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate instead, add a large pinch of ground allspice and 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes and proceed as directed in the Basic recipe.
Basic Compound Butter and Friends Recipes©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
I made tangerine-ginger butter. It’s great with fish, shrimp, green beans, asparagus and not too shoddy with frozen peas. As you can see, I roll the softened butter in waxed paper, twist the ends, form into a log and chill. I find it’s easier to handle using waxed paper, while the butter is soft. After chilling, I transfer the log to plastic wrap.
It’s pretty simple to do, particularly if you have a microplane. If you don’t have one, this is worth the $10 or so you’ll spend. I’ve had this one for well over 15 years and it’s still razor-sharp. This also works to grate nutmeg meats on.
I also made sun-dried tomato and roasted garlic butter; this is the butter I put on the omelet, but it’s great on steak or any grilled meat.
I used some of the garlic confit and mashed it up with some of the oil. I hand-chopped the sun-dried tomatoes, as I like their consistency better than using a food processor, but if that works for you, then use it.
The olive oil is Basilippo brand. It is artisanal Spanish oil from Arebiquina olives, that I get here. We visited the “farm” near Seville when we were in Spain a couple of years ago. I love this stuff…it’s fresh and grassy; truly wonderful and the bottle is terrific. It has this great top that doesn’t allow the oil go glug out, but just drizzle…and it’s pretty tasty drizzled on anything and everything.
The final butter is dill, lemon and some sour cream. I love this smeared on bagels or melted over baked fish. I use 3 tablespoons sour cream instead of the olive oil in the recipe. Grate the lemon zest, using the same microplane. It is snowy white with a subtle, delicate flavor.
Compound butters—these little morsels offer you lots of bang-for-your-flavor-buck. They make something simple, extraordinary. The best thing…there they are, in you fridge or freezer just waiting….