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Compound Butter: Making Butter Better

June 20, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More

Compound Butter

Herby butter

I have dabbled with growing herbs indoors during the winter, and it works when you want a pinch of this and a pinch of that for a recipe. But now that my garden is pumping out lots of fresh, delicious herbs, it’s time to preserve and use as many of them as possible. Compound butter to the rescue!

Simple concoctions of butter and either sweet or savory ingredients, compound butter is better butter! Start with the best quality butter you can find, and if it’s made from the milk of pastured cows, that’s even better. I prefer unsalted butter because I can control the salt content or experiment with different varieties of salt.

When I can’t find local butter at the farmer’s market, my go-to butter is Kerrygold Irish Butter. It’s easy to find, made with milk from pastured cows, and tastes great.


The technique is the same for all compound butters. Let your butter come to room temperature so it’s soft and easy to combine with the other ingredients. Prepare and finely chop herbs, place in a bowl and use a fork to mash ingredients together. Once the ingredients are evenly incorporated, use plastic wrap to help form the butter into a log.

Refrigerate the wrapped log and use within the next few weeks. Or, freeze by first refrigerating the log of compound butter, then wrapping in parchment paper once firm. Finally, wrap it, parchment and all in plastic, label and freeze.

compound butterUse compound butter to top everything from roasted and grilled fish, roast chicken, and perfectly seared steaks. Top steamed fresh vegetables, baked potatoes, or mix the butter into cooked rice or pasta. Spread the butter on sliced bread to add extra ooomph to your favorite grilled cheese sandwich. Make a breakfast of rye bread, herb butter and thinly sliced crisp radishes. Stir into finished soups just before serving. And, impress your Thanksgiving guests when you serve your own homemade herby butter alongside hot rolls or biscuits. When you’re a gardener with a bumper crop of herbs, it pays to think ahead!

Spring Herb Butter

This one is wonderful tossed with fresh cooked spring peas or as a finishing touch for grilled asparagus or seared salmon.

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature and soft

1 Tbsp. minced fresh chives

1 Tbsp. minced fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

1 Tbsp. minced fresh dill

1 Tbsp. minced fresh chervil

1/4 tsp. fine sea salt


compound butter

Abundance of fresh herbs from my garden

Lemon Basil Butter

Spread on sliced sourdough bread and make a grilled cheese with sliced garden tomatoes. Drizzle butter over steamed haricot verts.

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature and soft

3 Tbsp. minced fresh basil leaves

1 small clove minced fresh garlic

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1/4 tsp. fine sea salt


Honey Rosemary Butter

Spread on breakfast toast or biscuits or rub on roast chicken right out of the oven for subtle, sweet finishing touch.

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature and soft

2 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary

1 Tbsp. raw local honey (or more to taste!)


Thanksgiving Butter

This one uses classic poultry herbs to complement any traditional holiday meal. Use it for fresh hot rolls, mashed potatoes, or to dot the top of your stuffing prior to baking.

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature and soft

1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary

2 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme

1 tsp. minced fresh sage

1 small clove minced fresh garlic

1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper




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Category: Food, Tips & Tricks

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