Compound butter: sounds pretty boring, what’s the big deal with whirling some flavors into butter? I know, but don’t pass on these little Bijouxs Basics for your pantry (um, freezer).
When I first started cooking, I began with the basics, and compound butters were a part of my classes, but acting very crow-like and being very young, I was more attracted to the shiny objects. My new copper bowl and giant balloon whisk held my attention, compound butters?, I’ll get back to those later. I don’t really know what every happened to my copper bowl and giant balloon whisk, but I can assure sure you compound butters are now given front row center in my freezer.
Why are compound butters now row center? Well, they are the little flavor jewels that can be added to an infinite number of foods, and in an instant, depth, richness and layers of flavors can quickly and easily be imparted to an everyday recipe. They wait for you in the freezer, and are there on flavor call. There are scores of compound butter recipes, but I like a real flavor bang for my effort, so here are the two that are is the one always on reserve.
The first is Café de Paris Butter. It appears to have originated from the same restaurant as Cafe de Paris Sauce, although it appears in my research many have laid claim to this flavor-packing spread. This butter is rich with layers and layers of flavors, but don’t be daunted by the number of ingredients – I make a nice little tray for them all – this recipe makes a pound of the butter – it will give you back twofold the time you put in to prepare it.
The classic recipe for using Café de Paris Butter, probably one of my favorites, is to simply grill a really great steak to almost done (the way you like it, for me that’s very rare) and add a slice of the frozen butter on top of the steak and place the steak, in an oven proof pan (that’s why I love my cast iron skillets), under a very hot broiler for about 1 minute, just until the butter starts to brown. The result – an incredible butter sauce that appears in a minute.
What else can you do with the butter? – what’s not to do is a better question.
Think of topping this butter to almost any grilled meat; tossed in last minute a variety of steamed or grilled vegetables; oh, melted as a dip for steamed artichokes; use it as a flavor base for cooked pasta, throw in some veggies, or maybe even some shrimp. Compound butter are a great place to start experimenting with your own favorite combinations. Keep in mind the basics, compound butters are used as flavor finishers to cooked foods, it’s that last minute hit that keeps the butter’s flavors sparkling.
Café de Paris Butter, truly a Bijouxs Basic.
P.S. I will need to follow up with my second Bijouxs Basics compound butter recipe, but I just rambled on too long about this one.