Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Compound Butter

I saw the commercial for a new product: butter cubes with herbs in them that you can use to add flavor to things you sauté.  That is not a new idea, but making money off the pre-packaged version of it is.  Don't get suckered into this over-priced, over-salted, totally unnecessary product.  It isn't that big a deal to make your own.

There are many specific kinds of prepared beurre in French cooking.   Many of them involve browning the butter, or at least clarifying it.  I prefer to ignore the formal recipes and make the butter work with whatever I'm making.  And while fresh herbs are lovely for this sort of thing, don't rule out dried.  Just use less.

Any compound butter should be made a day ahead, so the flavors have time to meld and work their way through the log.  I'm giving a sample recipe for some fish I made.  The most common type of compound butter is called beurre maître'd, and consists of butter, lemon juice, and chopped parsley.  I guess this is a version of that one.

1/2 C butter (actual butter)
1 Tb chopped fresh parsley or 1 tsp *parsley flakes
1 Tb lemon juice
*1 tsp dill weed (or 1 Tb chopped fresh dill)
1 Tb olive oil
pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)

1.  Soften butter to room temperature.  In a mixer, beat together all ingredients until uniform and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

2.  Set out a piece of parchment or waxed paper.  Spoon butter onto paper and roll inside of paper into a log.  I found my sushi roller to be very helpful.  Seal paper with tape, if necessary, and refrigerate until firm.  To serve, slice appropriate-sized pieces off of log.  1 Tb per person is good, more if you're using it as a cooking sauce base.

makes 1/2 C, about 8 servings

Difficulty rating  π

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