How to Make Compound Butter

How To

How-tos, Tips, and Tricks

[Photographs: Kumiko Mitarai]

Mmm, butter. So good in so many forms: in baking, in frying, clarified, browned. This week I've been appreciating it in its fresh form. There's nothing like a pat of butter melting away on top of something you're about to sink your teeth into. And when you add a few flavorful ingredients to it, you've got compound butter.

Making compound butter is an easy and practical way of layering on buttery goodness along with fresh herbs, aromatic spices, a little kick, or a hint of sweetness.

I don't have a backyard myself, but I hope to be BYOCBing it this summer and adding compound butters to grilled meats and vegetables. Even indoors, they are great on fish, steaks, steamed vegetables, warm breads, or stirred into a pan sauce.

If you've never made compound butter before, this slideshow will give you the basic guidelines and a few suggestions for getting started. After you watch it, poke around your fridge and pantry. There's probably a new combination waiting to be made—let us know what you would make!

About the author: Kumiko writes the blog Recipe Interrupted. She believes that having a few cooking techniques under your belt can help make home cooking creative and easy, and is excited to share these basics here on her regular column Technique of the Week. A graduate of Brown University, the Institute of Culinary Education, and a mother of two hungry girls, Kumiko is always trying to keep her Brooklyn kitchen smelling of something good.