The Salty Dog's Blog
Not the kind you buy in the store! The kind you make at home with sweet, full-fat, yummy, golden, unsalted butter flavored with sea salt. It’s fresh and rich, smooth and luscious. Store-bought salted butter can be old and taste over-salted, stale. So, go for the best unsalted butter you can find and add your own sea salt. Then, you can add other flavors. Known as compound butter, flavored butter makes a sweet spread or a satisfying sauce. It can be as simple as the unmixed French dish of radishes, unsalted butter, and fleur de sel or a little more complicated like ras el hanout butter. Compound butters are delicious on bread or spooned on a charred steak; slid under the skin of a bird, or smeared over corn on the cob.
However you choose to serve flavored butter, it makes a versatile topping and stores well in the refrigerator or freezer. The basic recipe for compound butter is simple: mix enough unsalted butter with whatever flavoring you choose. Vary the flavors to suit your tastes, but don’t forget the salt!! I use about 1/4 teaspoon sea salt per stick (8 tablespoons/1/2 cup) unsalted butter. The amount of salt depends on your own taste, the size of the salt grain, and the flavor of the salt. I might use a touch more Himalayan salt as it has a slightly sweet edge to it. But it really all depends of what tastes good to you.
Classic Garlic Butter
8 TB (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, such as French grey sea salt (Celtic sea salt) or Himalayan pink salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and set aside for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Spread on bread and bake to melt the butter into the bread.
Garlic Butter Variations - add some Parmesan cheese or sprinkle in different herbs or even chopped arugula or kale.
Butter Blends with Flavored Salts
Season 8 TB (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite salt blend. Here are a few ideas:
Aleppo Chile Salt - for steaks or corn on the cob
Smoked Paprika Salt (spicy or regular) - for toast or eggs
Vanilla Bean Salt - for steamed vegetables and corn
Porcini Mushroom Salt - for potatoes or rice
Some other Flavored Butter ideas and ways to use them
For a simple soup garnish, mix butter with tons of herbs and sea salt. Set aside for 30 minutes or so to allow the flavors to develop. Spoon on top of vegetable or bean soups.
Saute and completely cool a handful of shallots. Mix with sea salt, butter, and fresh chives. Set aside for 30 minutes or so to allow the flavors to develop. Grill, broil, or pan-fry a steak. Spoon a dollop of butter on the hot steak and it will melt to create a fantastic sauce. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over the steak, if you would like a touch of tartness.
Make a mustard butter with Dijon mustard, tarragon or dill, and sea salt. Set aside for 30 minutes or so to allow the flavors to develop. Cut open a chicken at the backbone, flatten by pressing on the breastbone, and slide flavored butter under the skin of the chicken, let sit for about 1/2 hour at room temperature. Broil the bird, turning and basting with the butter.
Add sea salt, lemon zest, and minced black olives to butter. Set aside to allow the flavors to develop for 30 minutes or so. Spoon some butter on warm vegetables, such as green beans or summer squashes. Toss to coat the vegetables and serve right away.
Mix soy, garlic, fresh minced ginger with butter and sea salt. Set aside for 30 minutes or so to allow the flavors to develop. Spoon onto warm carrots, beets, parsnips, or snow or snap peas. Toss to coat the vegetables and serve right away.
Make a sweet flavored butter with cinnamon, orange zest or other spices you like with a smaller amount of sea salt. Set aside for 30 minutes or so to allow the flavors to develop. Use for pancakes, waffles, crepes, or French toast.
This rustic and comforting spaghetti dish is a suppertime favorite. We top it with a quick tomato sauce for a light, fresh touch. The tomato sauce may be made ahead and reheated when serving the dish. Save any extra sauce for another use.Serves 4 to 6.For the tomato sauce 1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, with juice [...]
Also known as shirred eggs, baked eggs are elegant, easy, and wide open to variation. Use ramekins, custard cups, individual gratin dishes, or other oven-proof cup. If using a gratin or wider dish, the cooking time will be less as the egg layer is thinner. Simply take the formula below and increase for as many people as you like.Makes one [...]
This classic soup is found in Portugal and Spain along with many variations throughout the Mediterranean. It is extremely easy to prepare and is ready in 20 minutes, using ingredients you most likely have on hand in your cupboard and refrigerator. Perfect for those times you are rushed or have no idea what to make for dinner. Use the freshest eggs to [...]
Sweet, savory, spicy, and tart, this whole berry cranberry sauce has a delightful, unexpected burst of garlic and curry. Garlic and curry may sound an unlikely partnership with cranberries, but they team up well and add a spark to fish, roasted poultry, and meats, or in sandwiches. The sauce keeps well in the refrigerator for a [...]
Here is a cozy, warming dish with garlic as the main act, the classic Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. It is a dish from Provence that was popularized by James Beard and Richard Olney. Instead of the traditional stewing/braising of the dish, we changed it up a bit by roasting the bird, surrounded with full [...]
This side dish is savory and comforting. Do not be afraid of the garlic; it mellows and sweetens as it cooks. You also do not need to be too picky about cutting the squash into uniform chunks; the thinner pieces cook down into a sort of puree, while the larger chunks stay whole. Our favorite [...]
The French call it Potage Parmentier, named after Antoine-Auguste Parmentier, the tireless promoter of the potato in eighteenth-century France. We made this with the gorgeous blue potatoes from the farm, but it may be made with any color potato you have; red, white, or blue! The classic version of this soup calls for the potatoes [...]
This delectable classic is made with caramelized onions for a sweetness that contrasts with the savory-saltiness of the broth and the cheese garnish. The length of time needed for the browning of the onions is critical; it will make the difference between an insipid soup and a transcendent one.4 tablespoons unsalted butter 4 [...]
A yummy, warming soup for fall. Puree the soup until smooth or leave a little chunky if you would like. The butter-sauteed pears add a nice sweet touch and the fresh ginger a bite of heat. Use a flavorful, all-purpose cooking sea salt, such as fine grain grey sea salt. Omit the cream if you [...]