Compound butter is not a compound idea. It’s actually quite simple and with delicious benefits. By combining flavors that you enjoy or that pair well with the food you’re serving, a flavored butter can greatly enhance a dish and also add layers of flavor to a simple preparation.
Most people know about honey butter, and it’s downright amazing on carb-laden goodness like biscuits and rolls. That butter is usually the whipped version, and to its counterpart, compound butter is more compact both in flavor and package. To make it, you simply take a room temperature stick of butter and mix it with the things you enjoy, refrigerate and slice.
Vermont Creamery does this cultured sea salt butter that is to die for….okay maybe not that serious but it’s amazing nonetheless. One of my favorite things to do with it is heat up some slices of bread, layer down a bit of the salted butter, and put a slab of good quality chocolate on top and bake….so good. I never take pictures of what I end up with because I devour it. Just trust me, it’s delicious.
In order to let’s say take that concept to a dinner party, compound butter is more along the lines of what a host or hostess would be looking for. It gives you the ability to prep ahead of time and allow guests to choose. With very little effort you’re adding a very special ‘wow’ factor to the evening. This also makes a great gift around the holidays instead of endless cookies.
The creation is simple, combine flavors which you would enjoy and mix in with butter. You always want to err on the side of less liquid and more dry goods. You want the butter to be able to maintain its shape, and not “dew” when it comes to room temperature upon presentation. Even with the minimal guidelines to follow, experiment using reductions (for more flavor and less liquid) or maybe even soak your dried goods in the liquid (shallots and wine). If using fresh herbs (which I insist), use up quickly so they don’t spoil and lose their coloration. The world is your stick of butter, go out and create!
For a dessert compound butter, or a sweeter selection to don toasts and pancakes, you could choose any one of these endless creations:
- Orange Chocolate- orange zest and cocoa powder
- Sea Salted Chocolate- sea salt and cocoa powder
- Chocolate Raspberry- cocoa powder and crushed freeze dried raspberries
- Chocolate Butter Crunch- toffee pieces and cocoa powder
- Pineapple Orange- crushed freeze dried pineapple and orange zest
- Lavender Lemon- lemon zest and crushed dried lavender
- Honey Cinnamon- honey and cinnamon
- Cinnamon Sugar- cinnamon and coarse sugar
- Mocha- instant coffee and cocoa
- Toasted Vanilla- vanilla bean scrapings and brown sugar
- Strawberry Balsamic- balsamic glaze and crushed freeze dried strawberries
- Strawberry Vanilla- crushed freeze dried strawberries and vanilla bean scrapings
- Brandied Peaches- brandy and crushed freeze dried peaches
For the more savory individual, or to top vegetables, meats and pastas, try the following combinations.
- Lemon Dill- fresh dill and lemon zest
- Caprese- balsamic glaze, tomato powder and fresh basil
- Maple Bacon- maple sugar and crumbled bacon
- Lemon Black Pepper- lemon zest and ground black pepper
- Garlic Cheese- garlic, parsley and parmesan
- Chipotle Lime- lime zest and finely diced chipotle peppers
- Shallot Thyme- finely diced shallots and fresh thyme
- Parmesan Truffle- black truffle oil and parmesan
- Maple Dijon- maple sugar and dijon mustard
- Pepper Salt- sea salt and ground black pepper
- Red Wine Shallot- shallots, red wine and parsley
- Guacamole- crushed dehydrated tomatoes and avocado
- Basil Pesto- parmesan, garlic and basil
Once you’ve completed your key mixture, you roll it into a log using this awesome video below.
From there you refrigerate and slice off as you need it, or freeze and do the same. Compound butter works great for the following:
- Corn on the cob
- Toast, french toast or pancakes
- Steam or grilled vegetables
- Grilled whole tomatoes (it’s a fruit….not a vegetable)
- Grilled stone fruit
- Roasted meat such as steaks or chicken
- Mix with sautéed shrimp
- Add to sauces
- Use for garlic bread or hasselback potatoes
- Top a grilled, baked or broiled fish
- Toss with fresh pasta
- Use as an accompaniment for fresh rolls or bread
So now I want to know….. what flavors are you interested in creating? What is one I may have not mentioned that you’re super psyched to try? Let me know in the comments below!
To full plates and eating your tarte out.