Make your own flavored butters. For those who want the flavor without the minimal work of putting these butters together, be assured that lots of varieties are available.
Let’s head back to the kitchen. You may have used a pat of herb butter to top off a grilled steak or fish fillet. But don’t stop there.
• Use chocolate butter on sesame bagels or nut bread, or on French toast or pancakes. Or try a maple version on the same. How about an orange-cardamom variety? You get the idea. Make breakfast better.
• Add a tarragon-mustard version to a pot of mussels.
• Add a spoonful of either sweet or savory flavored butter to finish meat or seafood in the pan.
• Use it as a “reverse” marinade. Fisher grills chicken thighs and then tosses them with a flavored butter. (Typical spicy Buffalo wings coating is nothing more than butter, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce)
• Place the flavored butter on a cheese board, with other offerings.
How to make at home
There are few “rules” to making compound butters — these are, after all, simple combos. But we have some tips for making the most of this effort.
• You don’t need the best quality butter, but it does need to be good. Use unsalted butter so you can control the sodium amount.
• Use really good ingredients, fresh and flavorful, when adding them to the butter and take advantage of seasonal produce. Fresh raspberries in the summer will taste much different than those from midwinter. Most herbs can be simply chopped up and added to the mix, but rosemary with its stronger flavor should be blanched first. Keep the texture of the other ingredients intact by not processing them first. Leave the ingredients in chunks, which is prettier and tastes good, too. We suggest keeping small berries whole.
• Let butter soften, but not too much, before you mix in the flavorings. Fisher uses a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Do not to whip the butter, as it adds too much air to the finished item.
• Some cooks roll the butter into a log when completed, otherwise transfer the butter to a small container for serving.
• Store the butter in the refrigerator due to the flavorings you’ve added, but let the mixture sit out on the counter for about an hour before you use it. The exception is if adding the butter to hot food, as in a sauce; then the butter should be cold when added.
Chocolate Butter Recipe
Makes 1 3/4 cup.
Note: The flavored butter can be refrigerated for up to two weeks or frozen for up to three months.
• 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
• 2 sticks (1 c.) unsalted butter (your favorite brand), room temperature
• 1/8 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
• 4 tsp. flaky sea salt
Melt chocolate over double boiler. Cool for 10 minutes.
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter for 1 minute. Scrape butter off sides of bowl. Add the cooled chocolate, cocoa powder and salt, incorporating well on slow speed.
When ingredients have come together nicely, spoon butter into pretty vessels and serve at room temperature (but store in refrigerator).
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