Compound butters

Compound butters
“Compound butter” is an ingredient that you might often find on menus. Compound butter is a simple concept – it is basically butter combined with ingredients to add depth and flavor, such as herbs, seasonings, fruit zests, garlic, and more. But it is a wonderful way to add complex flavor to meats, fish, vegetables, pasta, etc. It is really so simple, that home cooks can easily experiment with different compound butters in their own cooking. It’s a fun and easy way to add an impressive touch to your meals for family and dinner guests.

Some of the more familiar compound butters are garlic butter, lemon butter, and honey butter. Recipes are easy to find on the internet, but feel free to experiment on your own with both the ingredients and amount of the ingredients. In all cases, you will simply mix the chosen ingredients into softened butter, then form into a desired shape (you can use a butter mold, ramekin or simply form a cylinder shape and wrap tightly in plastic wrap), and chill until set.

A more unique example of compound butter is bottarga butter.  Bottarga is dried, salted fish roe – usually of grey mullet or tuna.

While bottarga may sound like something that would impart an overly fishy taste to other foods, it is subtle and hard to describe when correctly combined with other ingredients to create bottarga butter. It can be said to add umami to whatever dish it is enhancing. Umami is a Japanese word that describes a pleasant savory taste imparted by the amino acid glutamate.

Bottarga butter can be an excellent topping for steak, pasta, and seafood. If you want to try some at home, here is a recipe to help get you started:

8 ounces of butter softened
zest from one lemon
one ounce of grated bottarga

Simply mix the ingredients together until thoroughly combined, then shape and chill.


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