Compound butter, a combination of butter and seasonings, is a great way to add flavor quickly to many dishes.
The preparation is easy – soft butter is mixed with ingredients of your choice, shaped into a log and placed in the fridge or the freezer until the butter hardens. When ready to use, all you need to do is cut a portion and add it in the last moments of cooking, to effortlessly create a quick sauce, or place it on top of a prepared dish, to create a quick tasty topping.
The classic compound butter is prepared with garlic and herbs, but the variations are many. Here I’ve created one with sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts – a Mediterranean combination that blends beautifully with many dishes; from simply steamed vegetables to pasta, fish, seafood, chicken or steaks. It is also great as a spread for sandwiches with cold cuts and cheeses.
One log in your freezer, wrapped and in a freezer bag, can keep for up to 2 months, though I’m sure that once you’ll start using it, it won’t last that long.
* Some sun dried tomatoes are pre-salted, so it’s best to add just a small amount of salt in the beginning and check if more is needed after processing the mixture.
* I prefer not to chop the mixture too fine, so that the sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts will be noticeable after the butter melts, but you can chop it finer if you prefer a less rustic result.
Makes: about 20
Prep time: 20 minutes
Freezing time: 1 hour
¼ cup pine nuts
½ cup Sun Dried tomatoes halves (not in oil), packed
½ cup boiling water
1 small garlic clove
1 Tbs lemon zest
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp honey
Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
1 stick (115 grams) unsalted butter, soft
1. Lightly roast the pine nuts and cool. Place the sun dried tomatoes in a small bowl and add the boiling water. Let sit for 10 minutes. Drain well and roughly chop in a food processor with the metal blade.
2. Add the roasted pine nuts and rest of the ingredients, and process for 1-2 minutes. Taste and check if there’s a need for more salt. Scrape the sides of the bowl and process for 1-2 minutes more, to an even yet somewhat coarse mixture.
3. Line a work space with baking paper. Transfer the mixture onto it. Fold the baking paper over and gently twist both sides in opposite directions (like a candy wrapper), to form a log – about 1.5”(4cm) wide and 9”(23cm) long. Place the wrapped log in the freezer for 1 hour, until the mixture hardens.
If you plan to keep the butter longer, place the wrapped log in a freezer bag, getting rid of as much air as possible. Kept this way, the log will keep in the freezer for up to two months.
To use in cooking – take out of the freezer and slice with a large knife as many portions as you need and add to the cooked dish in the last stages of cooking.
To use as a topping let the slices stand in room temperature while you prepare the dish, so the butter will soften quickly once you put it on top of the prepared dish.