Recently I posted a photo on Instagram, of some herbed compound butter, ready to be rolled up and put in the fridge/freezer. Several folks were curious about it and asked me for the how-to. It’s the easiest thing in the world and once you get used to having compound butter at your disposal, you’ll never want to go without, and you will find many uses for it. I make it in volume, and share with friends.
I start with a high quality, unsalted butter. You can always add salt, but you can’t take it away.
Simply, place the butter in a bowl, and let it soften enough to stir easily. This batch will be garlic and herb, so I snipped some herbs from the garden; chives, tarragon, thyme and some fennel fronds (an addition I learned from Chef Matt Taylor.)
I don’t want chunks of garlic in my butter, so I use a zester to make sure the garlic is very finely minced.
Once the butter is soft enough, chop up the herbs and blend them into the butter.
There is no magic here, just mix it together. What’s the worst thing that could happen, its butter, garlic and herbs?
Once the herbs are incorporated into the butter, glop it onto wax paper, or parchment. You are going to roll it up, so distribute it fairly evenly along one end of the paper. As you are rolling, you will be able to smooth out any lumps or unevenness. If it stays lumpy, again, no big deal – its eventually going to get melted anyway.
Once it is rolled up, simply place in the fridge or freezer so that it will harden again, until you are ready to use some.
I like this combination of herbs and garlic, for many uses, and is nice not to have to chop up herbs every time I cook. Just slice and sautee.
I use it to cook scrambled eggs in, and it makes them really delicious.
I also put some under the skin of a chicken, before roasting and use it to flavor vegetables. You could slather it on french bread with some parmesan and toast it, or use it for your grilled cheese sandwich. I have made it with different herbs, and also used the zest and juice of citrus in it. Cilantro, lime butter is great with chicken, and lemon-basil is a good combination as well.
You can also make sweet compound butters, to use on bread, muffins, pancakes, croissants, or cornbread. Recently I made up a batch of Strawberry Jam Butter to accompany cornbread at a potluck. I just mixed homemade strawberry jam into the butter and put it in a nice jar.
I thought it looked pretty in the jar. This makes a great addition to any breakfast and makes great gifts.