Compound butter is butter enriched with other ingredients that change its flavor. You can use it as a spread, but sometimes your best idea is to add it to a steak.
When I’m going to a restaurant and I get butter and toast on the house I’m the happiest person at my table! I adore butter! It’s one of my favorite comfort foods and it makes me feel better even on my worst days. Of course, I know that excessive butter consumption can lead to gaining weight, but sometimes I can't help myself!
When I want to spoil myself, I make 2 or 3 types of compound butter. I spread some of each type on toast when it’s ready. Then I keep what’s left of them in bowls, in the fridge. You can keep compound butter for a month, but honestly, mine doesn’t last longer than 5 days because I eat it pretty quickly as is or I use it as a topping for meat.
What it is and how to make it
Compound butter is a mixture of butter and supplementary ingredients. It can be eaten as is, or you can top your steaks with slices of compound butter or use it for sauces or sautees. Compound butter enriches the texture and flavor of your dish.
It’s very easy to make compound butter at home. Let’s start with the basics! First, choose an unsalted butter variety. Let the butter soften at room temperature in a bowl, then mash it with a fork. Add salt, pepper, and the other ingredients that you choose, then mix everything well. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on your workspace and place the butter mixture on it. Roll the plastic wrap so you make a log. Twist the plastic wrap ends, then refrigerate for about 1 hour or until the compound butter is firm. You can skip salt and pepper if you want, but a pinch of kosher or sea salt brings out and heightens the natural flavors.
Let’s go further: 5 magnificent ideas of compound butter
1. Herbed butter
When making compound butter with herbs, you can use one or more herbs. The secret is to use chopped fresh herbs. Try rosemary, basil, thyme, sage, tarragon, dill, parsley, cilantro, or marjoram. You can also add garlic to your homemade compound butter, smashed and finely chopped. Add a few drops of fresh lemon or lime juice, to give it a kick. If you want it even more aromatic, try turmeric, paprika, ginger, or ground cardamom.
2. Herbs and cheese butter
Herbed butter is not your only option. You can mix butter with herbs and cheese! Goat cheese, herbs de Provence, roasted garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper make a great combo with butter! Also, you should try a mixture made of butter and blue cheese at room temperature, chopped chives, salt, and pepper, everything mixed and refrigerated until firm. Another great combo is gorgonzola and fresh sage. This kind of compound butter is perfect for a steak, but it’s also great spread on a slice of baguette.
3. Truffle butter
If you’re in a festive mood, buy some Burgundy truffles. Then, all you have to do is grate them over the softened butter, add some kosher salt, mix, cool, and that’s all! Truffles have a strong taste, so don’t use very much. Add them gradually, to taste.
Spread the butter on a toasted slice of seed bread and enjoy it with a glass of good wine. When you have guests, scoop beautiful mounds of the butter and plate it like restaurants do.
You can use it as a topping for meats, vegetables, pasta, on a plate full of mashed potatoes or on soft-boiled eggs. Or melt some truffle butter in a skillet and cook scrambled eggs or fry mushrooms in it.
4. Seaweed butter
If you combine unsalted butter with ground toasted nori (or seaweed paste, or nori powder) and some spices and, if you want, some sesame seeds, it’ll result in seaweed butter. You’ll find nori in the Asian foods section of bigger supermarkets.
The nori adds some savory taste to the butter. Serve it as is, with warm breads, or on hot boiled noodles, over popcorn or grilled fish, steaks, and steamed vegetables.
5. Coffee butter
Compound butter doesn’t have to be just sour. It can be also sweet. And the first on your list should be this one: coffee butter. Coffee butter has all the same ingredients of a regular cup of coffee: coffee, cream, and sugar. It’s impossible not to love it!
Mix softened unsalted butter with heavy cream, freshly ground coffee, some powdered sugar, and a pinch of kosher salt. Heat the heavy cream and coffee in a saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook until warmed through, about 3–4 minutes. Then strain the liquid, discarding the solids, and let it cool. Add it to the food processor with butter, sugar, and salt, and pulse until well combined.
Use the sweetened coffee butter on fluffy warm biscuits, scones, pancakes, waffles, or toast. If you skip the sugar, you can also use it on grilled meat.
While the concept of compound butter is simple, the potential flavor combinations are endless!