The Secret Ingredient (Parsley): Beurre Maître D'

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[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

Beurre Maître d'Hôtel, or the maitre d's butter. I'm not sure why it's called that, but whoever the maitre d' was, I'm glad he turned his hand to the kitchen. Beurre Maître d'Hôtel is a simple French compound butter stuffed with chopped fresh parsley and a squidge of lemon juice. Traditionally it is mixed, rolled, chilled, and sliced. You set a pat of the freshly flavored butter on a seared steak as it rests, and the butter melts into the grains of the meat, and the parsley and lemon go with it, and the steak becomes moist and the fresh flavors of parsley and lemon cut through the heaviness of the butter and steak.

In my version, I start with good sweet French butter at room temperature, and put in a lot of freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley (two parts butter to one part parsley)--that's more than usual. Then just a little bit of lemon juice, sea salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Instead of the old roll-and-slice method, I use a mini ice cream scoop to create little pretty balls of butter, which I refrigerate to set. Here, I seared off a bone-in sirloin, but this parsley butter is traditional with tenderloin, and you could use it on whatever steak you like. I also love it on grilled fish, like swordfish or giant prawns. The best part is, make extra, set it in the fridge, and then freeze it. You can use it whenever you want to add freshness and flavor to meats.

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Beurre Maître D'

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the French in a Flash series for Serious Eats.

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