At The CIA we learned to make Maître d’hôtel butter which is what this is, but as an Italian-American I will call it compound butter! Compound butter is a great way to add flavor to so many dishes! It is also a great way to preserve fresh herbs. You can substitute any herbs or herb combinations that you like. You can leave out the garlic, add scallions or shallots, citrus, spices… The sky’s the limit. You can make this a sweet compound butter (think waffles and pancakes) with cinnamon and sugar, nutmeg or any flavor combination you dream up.
Use your compound butter on your steaks, chicken, fish or any protein you choose. This would be great on grilled vegetables like corn and portobello mushrooms. You can use this to make incredible crostini, garlic bread or to enhance your corn bread whether you go sweet or savory! Picture the best, warm corn bread you’ve ever had with a cinnamon-sugar compound butter spread on top… I can’t contain my emotions on this one.
This week my CSA gave us beautiful basil and garlic which is why I chose this combination and it did not disappoint.
Plastic wrap or parchment paper.
1lb. Butter (softened)
1bu. Basil (about 2-4oz.), finely chopped
3-4 Cloves of garlic (made into a paste*)
1. Combine the softened butter, chopped basil, garlic paste (method below) and a couple of fat pinches of salt in your mixing bowl and stir. Season to taste.
2. Place on 2 layers of plastic wrap and smooth into cylinder to remove any air, then spin to seal on sides. Alternatively you can use parchment paper: lay the butter down on one side, then place the excess parchment over and use the back of your knife to smooth it into a cylinder. Wrap in plastic to store.
You can refrigerate or freeze this depending on when you plan to use it. If you are making one with spices, I would put enough in to color the butter and always remember to taste as you go!
*I learned this technique from Chef Jim Maraldo at The Culinary Institute of America and absolutely love it. Smash your garlic cloves, finely chop then add a fat pinch of salt. Smash with the side of your knife and continue to cut through/smash until it forms a paste. You can also do this using a mortar and pestle. Garlic paste is also amazing in hummus or mayo whether you make your own or add it to your favorite store bought version.
Let me know if you come up with a surprising combination that I could try! Enjoy!