May 2011

Seasonal Compound Butters

I tend to forget the elemental delights of compound butter until my summer herbs return to remind me…

Now that it’s June, most of us have fresh herbs gracing our backyards or windowsills, and it thrills me to have this quick flavor fix at my fingertips. These aromatic herbs are begging to be trimmed, and as the sunlight lingers late into the evening, they’re growing so quickly I can almost  see it happen. This makes me eager once again to combine them with other summerlicious flavors and sweet creamy butter. I think I’ll make this my go-to seasonal hostess gift as well. I can grab a log or two on the way out the door, or by planning ahead, have it accompanied by a crusty loaf of artisan bread.

So here’s what works for me: I combine my herbs, zests and other flavor components with room temperature butter and refrigerate the mixture just long enough to firm up a bit. I then shape my custom concoctions into a log, [approximately 7" long] roll in plastic and refrigerate until fully set. If you plan to store them longer than 1 week, put them in the freezer. For gifting, I  transfer the firmly chilled log into a tidier new layer of plastic wrap and onto parchment paper, rolling it up and tying the ends with kitchen twine or jute. Lastly, I’ll add a fun tag for identification, or just hand write each flavor across the parchment  paper.

For your at-home stash, try one of these formats. Leave your compound butters free-form by spooning into ramekins and refrigerating. Later, set out several flavors for guests to enjoy on breads, veggies or grilled fish. Or, shape into a log, roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate – slicing into rounds as needed [if you own a sushi mat, that's a great way to get a tight roll on your log]. Another option is to refrigerate until firm and use your melon baller to form pretty balls to serve alongside a garnish of its corresponding herbs.

Typically, compound butters are made by simply mixing herbs, spices or citrus zests into room temperature butter. To enhance the flavors further, consider first macerating your zest or dried fruit in spirits such as Grand Marnier or amaretto or if using herbs, combine with a splash of olive oil in a mini processor to release the oils and unlock more flavor before mixing into the butter.

This has summer written all over it!


Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

Here are a few of the infinite possibilities, each uses 2 sticks of salted butter:

orange zest + cointreau +  honey [1 T cointreau, zest of 1 navel orange, 2 T honey]   spread on muffins, scones & breads

caramelized shallot + cognac   [1/2 cup minced shallot caramelized in butter until deep golden brown, 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper, 1T cognac, sprinkle of salt]  top a steak or burger

orange zest + tarragon +  dijon  [1 T packed chopped tarragon, 1 tsp dijon,  1 T orange juice, zest of one navel orange]  pair with Halibut or any mild fish

black pepper + thyme +  lemon zest  [zest of 2 lemons, 2 T chopped thyme, 1 generous tsp. telicherry peppercorns, smashed]  melt over grilled veggies or swordfish

herb blend  [2 tsp.olive oil,  1T sage,  2 T rosemary,1 T thyme, sprinkle of salt, squeeze of lemon juice - pulse in mini processor]  schmear on hearty artisan breads



{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Ibidunni Ojikutu May 29, 2011 at 10:49 pm

I love everything about this. Butter is my food weakness, worse than cheese. I cannot wait to try these recipes!


Cindy May 30, 2011 at 10:28 am

What a delicious way to make use of fresh summer herbs. We like to toast artisinal loaves of bread sliced in half when we’re finished grilling meat. Then we butter the bread and slice for serving. Buttering with these fresh herb butters would be even better.

And I love your packaging!


Sara May 30, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Those butters look beautiful! Thanks for sharing…


The Fromagette May 30, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Thanks! I can’t wait to keep the various concoctions coming… so easy and makes summer foods which are already so perfect, even better!


JLo May 30, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Where would one get (or make) those lovely tags you have on the individual logs?


The Fromagette May 30, 2011 at 5:48 pm

You can make them on your computer using 3 different fonts, hole punch and then tear the edges for a worn look…


Andy May 31, 2011 at 7:45 am

I highly suggest trying a miso butter if you like compound butters. The best I’ve made has been a bit of white truffle oil, shiro miso (white), and a good quality goat butter. Mix it all together until it’s a uniform mass. It keeps for at least a month, if not longer. It’s nutty and earthy and grassy and fatty and salty and makes for the absolute best scrambled eggs (I use it once the eggs are plated – miso tends to lose it’s subtle flavors when exposed to high heat.)


The Fromagette May 31, 2011 at 9:44 am

Thanks for the delicious sounding suggestion!


Kimby June 1, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Great gift idea, but I like the “at home” stash casual approach, too. :) Creative flavors!


sreelu August 26, 2011 at 1:33 pm

will be camping in yosemite next week , would love to make your blackpepper butter.


Carolinaheartstrings October 6, 2011 at 5:06 pm

I so want to try this. What a great post. Come visit us. We have a terrific waffle recipe.


Momo June 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm

This might be a silly question, but does the capitol T stand for table spoon? If not, what? thanks!!


The Fromagette June 17, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Yes! T for tablespoon:)


samantha December 4, 2012 at 10:28 am

love this! so beautiful looking as well. i think i might give it a try for holiday gifts


Lloyd November 29, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Looking at your pictures and wondering how much butter is each of the individually wrapped logs? Thinking of making these as Christmas gifts and trying to gauge how much it will cost me.


The Fromagette November 30, 2013 at 10:38 am

Hi Lloyd – the recipe specifies each combination requires 2 sticks of salted butter. Each recipe makes one roll or log of compound butter. If you are on a budget, you can find butter at Costco for only 2 dollars per pound. I generally use Trader Joe’s butter. Hope that helps!


Mary December 9, 2013 at 2:37 pm

How long do these last in the fridge?


The Fromagette December 9, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Mary – I’ve never really put that to the test, I’ve always used them up within a few weeks to a month and they’ve been just fine. The butter alone lasts for a very long time, just consider whichever other ingredients are involved and keep their separate shelf lives in mind. Make sure if you are storing them longer than a week that you use a bit of extra wrap so they do not absorb refrigerator smells and tastes!!


The Fromagette December 9, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Oh – and consider freezing them to extend their freshness!


Tara December 11, 2013 at 8:38 am

this sounds wonderful! will definitely be making as gifts this christmas! when you says two sticks of butter do you mean the butter that is divided into individual quarters or the 1lb stick? im from canada and our butter is usually sold in 1lb sticks


The Fromagette December 11, 2013 at 9:04 am

Hi Tara – yes! Butter here in the U.S. typically comes in a one pound package, divided into 4 sticks – 1/4 pound each.


Leave a Comment

{ 9 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: