Compound Butters

Many times in my posts, I mention using flavored butters (Compound Butters) that I keep in my freezer.   They are great on top of chicken, fish, beef, pasta, etc. You name it, it’s better with these butters!  When I make up a batch, I usually double or triple the recipe just so that I’ll have plenty.  Just take it out of the freezer, cut off what you need, zap in the microwave, drizzle over your food, and voila! you have an instant gourmet meal.  It’s been requested that as I find and try new, different recipes for these butters, I continue to add them to this list.  I’ll do it…I promise!  🙂

Compound Butters

Printable Recipe

For each butter: Bring butter to room temperature. Combine all ingredients (can pulse in a food processor). Form into log shape in plastic wrap, (tightening the ends as if it were a sausage) and refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze.

Lemon Ginger Butter

6 T butter, 
2 T fresh lemon juice, warmed slightly, 
2 T minced fresh ginger, 
2 T snipped fresh chives

Lemon Parsley Caper Butter

1 stick butter, 
2 t finely grated lemon zest, 
2 T fresh lemon juice, 
3 T finely chopped fresh parsley, 
2 T capers, drained, 
salt & pepper

Chile Lime Butter

½ stick butter, 
1 T finely chopped shallot, 
1 t finely grated fresh lime zest, 
2 t fresh lime juice, 
1 t fresh Thai or serrano chile, minced

Red Pepper Butter (courtesy of friend Diane Baum—GREAT on Steak!)

1 C butter, 
¾ C chopped red bell pepper, 
¾ to 1½ t ground red pepper, 
2¼ t seasoned salt

Chipotle Cilantro Butter

½ C butter, 
½ C chopped fresh cilantro, 
1 chipotle chile (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce), minced, plus 1 T adobo sauce; or to taste 
2 t fresh lime juice, 
¼ t kosher salt, 
¼ t freshly ground black pepper

Herb and Lemon Butter (Anne Burrell)

½ C butter, 
2 lemons, zested, ½ bunch dill, finely chopped, 1/2 bunch thyme, picked and finely chopped (lemon thyme is even better), 1 small clove garlic, smashed and finely chopped, kosher salt

Roquefort Butter (Fine Cooking Magazine-GRILLING-also great on Steak!)

2 sticks butter, 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced, 1 clove garlic, minced, 5 oz. Roquefort cheese, crumbled , 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, 1 tablespoon good quality red wine, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. In small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over med-high heat.  Add shallots & garlic and cook until shallots are soft, 4-5 minutes. Set aside to cool.  In food processor, add remaining butter, Roquefort, thyme, vinegar and the cooked shallot mixture.  Process until well combined.  Add salt & pepper, combine again and taste, adding more salt if necessary.

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Grilled Rib-Eye with Roquefort Butter & Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

I actually received a phone call today asking “Aren’t you cooking?  How come I haven’t received any blogs lately?  You KNOW I can’t cook unless I receive your blog!”  Well, yes, I’ve been cooking, but I’ve been so busy lately, I haven’t had time to blog about it!  It IS nice to feel needed, though.  LOL

Here’s a dish I fixed the other night.  It’s one of those dishes that when you taste it, makes you sit back and take notice.  “WOW” is a good description!  You know how I like compound butters, and I always have a variety in my freezer.  Well, this butter has Roquefort cheese blended into it along with a few other things like thyme, shallots, garlic & a little red wine vinegar.  It is FANTASTIC on beef!  If you’re a blue cheese fan, it’s a MUST TRY! I topped my grilled rib-eyes with a bit of the butter and some roasted cherry tomatoes.  I must admit…it was REALLY good!

TIP: You know how your cherry tomatoes start to get wrinkled as they get older?  Well, DON’T throw them away.  Toss them with a little olive oil, salt & pepper, put them onto a sheet pan and pop into a 450• oven for about 12-15 minutes until they start to burst.  They are absolutely delicious either as a side dish or as a topping for fish, chicken or beef.

Grilled Rib-Eye with Roquefort Butter & Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Roquefort Butter

adapted from The Best of Fine Cooking-Grilling

Yields about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 shallots,peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 oz. Roquefort cheese, crumbled
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon good quality red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat.  Add the shallots and garlic and cook until the shallots are soft, about 4-5 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  In a food processor, add remaining butter, Roquefort, thyme, vinegar, and the cooled shallot mixture. Process until well combined.  Add salt & pepper, combine again, and taste, adding more salt if necessary.  Leftover butter can be rolled up in plastic wrap like a sausage, put into a ziploc freezer bag and frozen.
Note:  If you don’t have a food processor, just use a mixer or a wooden spoon and beat all until combined.  This is SOOO good on top of a steak!  Even better with some roasted cherry tomatoes on top!

Halibut…quick & delicious!

Wondering where in the world I’ve been lately?  Did you think I’d gone on a cooking hiatus?  Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I did!  I had a very unwanted guest come to visit me for about 3 weeks. In our house, he goes by the name of “damned cold virus”.  You all know his kind.  Uninvited, he creeps up on you when you’re least expecting it and stays for days on end, robbing you of any energy you mistakenly thought you had!  My guys hate it when I’m sick, because the “WHAT’S FOR DINNER?” question is always answered with  “Whatever you decide to bring home!” They are SO happy when I’m back up and cooking.  🙂

The other day I got home rather late from the office.  I was pretty drained and didn’t really have the energy to do my usual “experimenting” in the kitchen.  Falling into bed was what I would have preferred, BUT I had 2 pitiful looking guys standing in my kitchen with that “WHAT’S FOR DINNER?” look in their eyes!  Besides, I had some nice halibut in the fridge that needed to be cooked.  Not wanting to waste a great piece of fish, I just needed a quick way to prepare it.  A quick sauté in the pan to create a nice crust and then a pop into the oven proved to be the perfect quick dinner!  I topped it with a dollop of one of my flavored butters (see previous post “Pan Seared Tilapia with Lemon Parsley Butter Sauce”) and served it over a bed of sautéed spinach w/garlic.  I had dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes!  Eat your heart out Rachel Ray!

Raw Halibut

This is the Halibut before cooking

Halibut

Pan Roasted Halibut served over a bed of fresh spinach w/garlic

Not too shabby for a quick, throw-together meal, huh?  Certainly better than driving through Chic-Fil-A!  Not that anything’s wrong with Chic-Fil-A…I’m actually addicted to their chocolate shakes, but “I’M JUST SAYING”!

If you’d rather not top this fish with the flavored butter, several other things would be great!  A few that come to mind that can be purchased already prepared at the store would be fresh pico de gallo, mango salsa, or maybe a prepared lemon/dill sauce.  The fish is also fantastic with no topping at all!

So here’s the lowdown on putting together a quick and healthy meal in not too much time.  It’s really not much of a recipe, but I’ll do my best to walk you through it:

Pan Roasted Halibut Served Over Bed of Fresh Spinach w/Garlic

Serves 4 (or 2 with one teenage son)

Printable Recipe

Sauteed Spinach w/Garlic

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 package fresh spinach

Directions

Place garlic and olive oil in skillet over low heat.  Cook until garlic starts to sizzle and turn brown. (DON’T let the garlic burn or it will turn bitter! You just want a golden brown color.)  You are making garlic infused olive oil!  At this point, you can take out the garlic if you don’t like eating it, but I leave it in.  Crank up the heat just a bit and add spinach to skillet.  Using tongs, continue to turn spinach over as it starts to wilt.  It should only take a few minutes for the spinach to reduce down.  Remove from heat and keep covered until fish is ready.

Ingredients for Halibut

  • 4 pieces of fresh halibut (any size)
  • McCormicks Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • olive oil (enough to lightly coat skillet)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Place just enough olive oil in large non-stick skillet to coat, and heat over high heat (make sure your pan is able to be put in the oven…no plastic handles, etc).  When you see the oil start to wave & ripple, you know it’s hot!  Brush both sides of fish with olive oil and lightly season with Grill Mates (it contains salt, so be careful).  If you don’t have Grill Mates, use salt and pepper, but if you have the chance, try Grill Mates.  It’s my go-to seasoning for EVERYTHING!  Place fish into pan (it should sound like Carnegie Hall, sizzling–if not, the skillet isn’t hot enough!)   Turn the heat down to med-high, and cook until you see a nice brown crust forming underneath, then flip and put into the oven for about 4-5 minutes.  The fish will continue to cook as it comes out of the oven, so don’t overcook!

To plate, put your spinach in middle of plate, and place fish on top.  Top with your choice of toppings or nothing at all.  If you’re using flavored butter,  put a dollop on top of fish and put back into oven for just a minute to start butter melting.  Serve immediately.

FISH TIPS:

1. If possible, always ask to smell the fish you buy from the store.  It should NOT smell like what it is.  It should smell like the ocean…fresh & clean!  If it doesn’t, give it back and chose another kind.

2. General rule of thumb: cook fish for approx. 10 minutes per inch of thickness.  In this recipe, you’ll cook it for about 4-5 minutes in skillet, then 4-5 minutes more in the oven.

Salmon Two Ways

I have so many recipes I want to try and am constantly adding to that list!  Consequently, most dinners at my house are experiments with new recipes. Some recipes make it to my “keeper” file, and others, while good, aren’t quite good enough, in my opinion, to make the cut.  Last night, I had a nice filet of salmon, and I had two different toppings I wanted to try…the Lemon and Herb Butter by Anne Burrell which we made in my last post and also a Citrus Salsa from Giada De Laurentiis.  Hubby and son really like Giada.  They are always willing to come sit by me when I’m watching one of her shows.  I’m pretty sure it’s the cleavage rather than the cooking that gets their attention, but nonetheless, she does come up with some good recipes!  Such was the case with her Citrus Salsa.  It looked really good, with orange sections, parsley, scallions, fresh mint, red pepper flakes, capers, lemon juice and olive oil…what’s not to like in THAT combination?

Citrus Salsa

The salsa recipe calls for sectioning your oranges which means getting rid of all the skin, white pith, and membranes, leaving only the nice, juicy segments. Sectioned oranges are so much more flavorful than canned oranges and they are much prettier!  They’re great on top of fish, salads, and desserts, and they brown better under the broiler.  It’s really not hard to do…all you need is a paring knife and some patience. Start by cutting off one end of the orange so it sits evenly on the counter.  Take your knife and slice down the orange deep enough to remove all the white pith.  Do this all the way around the orange until all the white part is gone, and you have a nice clean orange.

sectioning an orangeNext, over a bowl, holding the orange in the palm of one hand and your knife in the other, run your knife down the side of each section next to the membrane, letting the freed section fall into a bowl.

sectioning an orange

orange sections

Can you smell this mint?  It smells SOOO good!  It makes me want to make a Mojito, RIGHT NOW!!!

fresh mint

Next, add the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, scallions, mint, capers, orange zest, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes.  Toss lightly and season with salt and pepper.

citrus salsa

Citrus Salsa

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 large oranges
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salsa: Peel and trim the ends from each orange. Using a paring knife, cut along the membrane on both sides of each segment. Free the segments and add them to a medium bowl. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, scallions, mint, capers, orange zest, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes. Toss lightly and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

***Note:  The consensus of opinions on this recipe was to leave the capers out.  Also, a teaspoon of red pepper was a HUGE kick!  Maybe start with 1/2 teaspoon next time.

Salmon two ways

Seared Salmon with Citrus Salsa (left) and Lemon Herb Butter (right), served with Roasted Broccoli Spears.

Compound Butters 101

Many of you have told me you love the idea of having flavored butters in your freezer, but aren’t really sure just exactly how to make it.  Well, I’ve decided to hold a little cooking class right here on my blog to show you just how easy these butters really are! Anne Burrell, another of my favorite chefs, recently prepared Herb and Lemon Compound Butter to serve on seared salmon (YUM!), but I’ll save that for another post.  So, grab a drink, and pick a seat…Class is about to begin!

First things first…

your butter HAS to be room temperature, so plan accordingly.  30 minutes on the counter should do it.  Now, get all your ingredients together. By the way, I doubled the recipe when I made it.

Herb and Lemon Compound Butter

Put your butter into a medium bowl and zest your lemons.  You’ll definitely need a microplaner to do the zesting.  If you don’t have one, go buy one.  They’re fabulous!  Here are two examples:

Microplaner

Chop your herbs (dill and thyme) and garlic, and put them into the bowl with the butter and zest.

Her and Lemon Butter

Mix together, and add a pinch of kosher salt. (I use a big pinch since my butter is unsalted)

Herb and Lemon Compound Butter

Next, lay about a foot long sheet of plastic wrap on the counter, and spoon the butter onto the middle of it.

Herb and Lemon Compound Butter

Wrap the butter into a log and twist the ends like a sausage.

Herb and Lemon Compound Butter

Tuck the ends underneath the roll.

Herb and Lemon Compound Butter

Now, HOW EASY WAS THAT??? If you’re not using right away, either refrigerate (up to a week) or put into a ziploc freezer bag and freeze.  When you have something you think this butter would taste good on (fish, chicken, bread, etc),  no need to thaw the whole log just for a slice or two…Just unwrap, slice off what you need, rewrap, and put the rest back in the freezer.

***For additional flavored butters, see my previous blog “Quick and Easy Tilapia”.

CLASS DISMISSED!  HAVE A GREAT DAY!

Herb and Lemon Compound Butter

adapted from Anne Burrell

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, ROOM TEMPERATURE!
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 1/2 bunch dill, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch thyme, picked and finely chopped (lemon thyme is even better)
  • 1 small clove garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • Kosher salt

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the butter, zest, herbs and garlic. Mix until everything is well mixed. Season, to taste, with salt. If using right away, keep the butter at room temperature. If making ahead, reserve in the refrigerator or freeze.  Bring to room temperature before using.

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