Compound butters are fabulous. They are little flavour filled disks of buttery deliciousness.
A beautiful disk of salty butter enriched with herbs and spices. The possibilities are endless. So much so that when I started coming up with ideas for my father's day steak with compound butter (read my post on the perfect steak here) my brain went into overdrive and suddenly I had 10 combinations to choose from.
So I have made a whole section on my recipe collections for compound butters. I spent a full day making compound butters. I had a fridge full of beautiful rolls of butter and all my friends now have little rolls in their fridges!!!! There should be a lot of happy steak (or veggie) munching Fathers on Sunday!!! (Not that compound butters are only for steak, add them to grilled chicken, seared fish or top your veggies with a big old pat.)
Just like my PERFECT steak post I have some 'rules' on compound butters.
I adore Pepe Saya Cultured Butter and Président Sea Salt Butter. But this is not the place for them, their flavour is either lost amougst the herbs and spices, so don't waste money using your expensive butter (Save that for bread and butter!!!) Just buy a block of supermarket butter. It will be perfect for this job.
Also I buy the salted butter. It just works well for me! Even with the salty cheeses I find the flavour is better when I use salted butter.
Get the butter soft, (but not too soft!)
If your butter is too cold, then you find the flavourings don't mix perfectly and you end up with little bits of butter that are devoid of the additional flavours. (BAD!) I like to get my butter out for an hour before I start making compound butters. I don't hold with softening it on the counter overnight. As I use a mixer to incorporate my ingredients, if the butter is too soft, everything melts a little too much, leaving a not so nice taste later on.
Flavourings - The possibilities are endless
Because you only use a small pat, the best compound butters are those that are packed with flavour. But the possibilities are endless and totally up to you. Load the butter up with your favourite herbs. Or add in some bacon. Garlic is always a good choice and the addition of lemon works amazingly well with steak. At the end of this page you can find links to the 10 compound butters that I whipped up yesterday. (I also have a few more in coming weeks!)
Ensure your flavourings are finely chopped and everything is well mixed
You want every bit of butter to carry every bit of flavour, so make sure whatever you are adding is chopped up nice and fine. I use my food processor to ensure everything is well chopped and then well incorporated.
Wrap it well.
If you want to cut the beautiful disks of butter then the best way to achieve this is to roll the butter into a sausage using cling film. Pull off a piece of cling film (about 25cm/10in). Once the butter is mixed, spoon it into a rough log onto the long edge of the cling film. (It will take up the centre 3rd of the the cling film. Carefully roll the cling film around the butter, then pinch the ends together and keep rolling it tight until you have a nice tight log. Tie a quick knot in the cling film and store it in the fridge.
If you are gifting the little rolls then once you have cling filmed it, add a layer of greaseproof paper and tie it into a cracker shape.