Compound Butters

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Eating from the Ground Up Recipes for Simple, Perfect VegetablesI look for recipes that give me a whole lot of fancy for minimal work, time, and money, and compound butters are the queens of this category. Butter goes well with just about everything, and when we mix delicious things into butter, it goes well on just about everything. Compound butters are also a great way to preserve fleeting and delicate herbs and petals, and they even freeze nicely. Experiment with any herbs or edible flowers you might have you really can’t mess this up. It seems (and, of course, this is true) that this recipe is just an excuse to spread the butter thicker on bread, but butter is also a good carrier for flavors. Chopped tarragon doesn’t just sit in the softened butter; it infuses the whole thing with its delicate flavor. Nasturtium petals, usually prized not so much for their flavor but for the burst of red or orange they add to a salad, permeate butter with spice as well as color. Spread compound butters on bread or radishes, or melt a pat over meat or fish. Of course, if you want to just eat them with a spoon, I won’t judge.

  • Yield: 0.5 Cup


  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, edible flowers, shallots, garlic, minced radishes, or a mixture
How to Make It
  1. Combine the butter, salt, lemon juice, and any additional ingredients in a medium bowl, mixing until well incorporated.
  2. Transfer to a ramekin, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. The butter will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  3. You can also shape the butter into a log, wrap it in plastic, and freeze for up to 6 months.

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