Fancy up your steak dinners with compound butter

Compound butter on grilled steak made at The International Culinary Center

Oh holy butter. I find myself thinking that a lot in class. It's in everything! When a recipe doesn't call for butter, I actually get confused. Maybe I wrote the ingredients down wrong? Maybe I missed a step? Maybe we'll add it at the end? A recipe without butter is beginning to feel like an anomaly.

I stay pretty healthy when I cook for myself at home. I keep to all the "lows" of a health-conscious woman in her mid-twenties...low salt, low carb, low fat. It's a constant effort to stick to these "lows" in class, and not indulge in all the decadent amazing-ness we make. Yet, despite my efforts, I have never consumed this much butter in my life. A taste here and a taste there, to make sure my food is up to par, really adds up.

Video: Compound butter: A gourmet garnish

As much as I hate to admit it, it really does make everything taste better. The sky's the limit with what you can do with butter. My favorite usage so far, surprisingly, was as a flavorful garnish: compound butter.

Take any flavor combinations you like, throw it in some room-temperature butter, and you've got an delectable addition to any red meat dish...or just on toast, which I did daily for almost a week before I was forced to toss it from butter-overload. It's hard to resist. 

To learn how to fancy-up your steak dinners with compound butter, watch the video above.

Apply your knowledge to the following recipes. Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic Butter
Adapted from The International Culinary Center

  • 1 head of garlic
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Nicoise olives, pitted and finely chopped
  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Remove the top third of the head of garlic. Rub with olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Place in a 350F oven and cook until the garlic is tender, approximately 45 minutes.

2. When the garlic is tender, squeeze the cloves out. Puree, or leave whole (if you like little pieces of garlic in your butter like I do)

3. Mix the roasted garlic with the rest of the ingredients in the room-temperature butter. Roll into a cylinder using plastic wrap (see video above). Refrigerate until firm.

Horseradish Butter (Beurre Raifort)
Adapted from The International Culinary Center

  • 4 tablespoons butter (half a stick)
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Mix the horseradish, lemon juice and parsley into the room-temperature butter.

2. Season, taste and roll into a cylinder using plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm.

Butter with Shallots (Beurre d'echalote)
Adapted from The International Culinary Center

  • 4 tablespoons butter (half a stick), room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon shallots, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Mix the shallots, garlic, lemon juice and parsley into the room-temperature butter.

2. Season, taste, and roll into a cylinder using plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm.

  • Alison Stravitz

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