How to use Compound Butter

Compound butter is simply butter that has herbs, spices, or other flavorings added to it.   It can be sweet, savory or spicy. The possible flavor combinations are almost endless, and so are the possible uses.

Baked goods pair well with compound butters. Garlic butter is often served with dinner rolls or loaves of bread.  Sweet blends made with cinnamon and sugar or honey are popular toppings for bread, biscuits, and cornbread.  

Combine butter with brown sugar and a dash of vanilla and serve over sweet potatoes or baked apples. If you prefer a spicy alternative, use paprika, cumin or diced chipotle peppers. The spicy butter could also be served with cornbread or fresh tortillas. Both sweet and spicy blends make excellent flavorings for hot popcorn.  

To prepare an elegant seafood entree, mix butter with lemon zest and dill. Use it to top sautéed shrimp for an instant shrimp scampi or serve it as an elegant dipping sauce for lobster. To grill fish, spread some lemon butter on a fillet of fish, wrap it in foil and grill over medium heat for about 20 minutes. 

A simple and versatile butter can be made with minced roasted garlic and fresh herbs. Use this in place of plain butter when serving vegetables, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, or rice. Add caramelized onion or a slice of crumbled bacon for extra flavor. Make sure the bacon is fully cooked. 

Steak and butter is a classic combination. Simply add a small pat of a savory blend to a freshly grilled strip steak or filet. To make moist and juicy burgers, place the butter inside the patty before cooking. Grilled pork chops can be topped with a blend of orange zest, cinnamon and butter.  

To make compound butter, finely mince desired ingredients and then stir them into softened, unsalted butter. It is best to start with unsalted butter and then add salt to taste. Place the mixture on waxed paper and roll it into a log shape.  Twist the ends of the paper tightly. Store in the refrigerator until butter has become firm, and then cut it into slices. Compound butter can be refrigerated for up to two weeks, or frozen for up to three months.   

It is easy to make compound butters in advance.Try mixing up a few blends whenever you have leftover ingredients to use. If you keep a few flavors on hand, you will always be prepared with a simple and delicious way to dress up an entree or side dish.

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