Is there anything better than butter? Yes, and it’s flavored butter, also known as compound butter.
I really enjoy making flavored butter for special occasions like brunch or a dairy Shabbat dinner (or even Shavuot!). It’s so easy and people think it’s impressive and schmancy. Truth: It’s probably one of the easiest things to do in the kitchen because you don’t need special equipment or even to cook. Just a smidge of planning.
Serving up some sweet scones on Sunday morning? Take 2 sticks of unsalted softened butter and combine with 2 Tbsp honey, a pinch of thick sea salt and 1 tsp vanilla.
Whipping up a batch of grandma’s famous cornbread? Combine 2 sticks of unsalted softened butter with 1 Tbsp honey, pinch of thick sea salt and a healthy pinch (or 1/4 tsp) cayenne pepper.
And this time of year I like to make a spring herb compound butter and store it in the fridge. It adds freshness to so many dishes–spread over challah (obviously), schmear a large pat over steamed fresh vegetables like string beans, snap peas or broccoli, or serve it on some simple baked salmon, one of my new favorite, super easy weeknight dinners.
Baked Salmon with Herb Butter
Yield 3-4 servings
For the herb butter:
2 sticks unsalted butter, left at room temperature to soften
1/2 cup mixed fresh herbs such as dill, parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano and/or tarragon
pinch thick sea salt
1 tsp fresh lemon zest (optional)
For the salmon:
1 lb fresh salmon of your choice
salt and pepper
To make the herb butter, combine softened butter with herbs, thick sea salt and lemon zest if desired. Place butter mixture onto plastic wrap and cover, shaping into a small log. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place salmon on a baking sheet lined with tin foil or parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a few Tbsp of compound butter on top of salmon. Note: you can also add veggies right to pan for an easy one-pan dinner, as pictured above.
Add slices of lemon if desired.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, until salmon is just firm to touch and you can see white stuff” coming out the side of salmon. Serve immediately.
Pronounced: KHAH-luh, Origin: Hebrew, ceremonial bread eaten on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.
Pronounced: shuh-BAHT or shah-BAHT, Origin: Hebrew, the Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.