Friday, May 27, 2011

Foodie Vocabulary: Compound Butter

Compound butter is a treasure to me.  Reason being: it can single-handedly elevate a dish's flavor quotient and scrumptiousness, and all that with the same minimal effort it takes to add plain butter to a dish.  Well almost.  But trust me, the additional effort is so slight, you'll have no qualms about "compounding away".

As the name implies, compound butter is plain butter (I typically use unsalted) compounded with additional flavors.  And there's virtually no end to the flavors the creative cook can create.  From blue cheese to herbs and garlic to orange marmalade to chili spices and lime zest, the compound butter frontier knows no bounds.  And it stores like regular butter, so once you make it, you'll have a little treasure awaiting in your fridge whenever you want it--or until you run out.

So the next time you want to spice up that pasta dish or add a zing to some steamed fish or wake up that piece of toast, consider substituting your plain butter allotment for a kicked-up compound butter.  Since you're planning to use the butter anyway, you might as well get the most bang for your foodie buck.

To get you started with this most delectable foodie delight, I want to share my recipe for Herb-Garlic Butter.  I can't make garlic bread without it, and I also love it on my Fish en Papillote.  Making that simple tweak to my dish was a mouth-watering revelation!  And once you try it, I trust you'll agree.

Happy Eating!

Herb-Garlic Butter
1/2 cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine butter, herbs, garlic and salt.  Refrigerate (or freeze) until butter has become firm again.  Remove from refrigerator, serve and enjoy!

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