Compound Butters, a simple sauce


Compound Butters are a fantastic “sauce” to keep in your freezer. In Europe, these butters are found at markets behind the meat, fish, or dairy counters.

I shape them into “logs” as you would cookie dough, wrapped in wax paper. Once frozen, I wrap them in foil that I’ve marked with the flavor of the butter. When needed, simply pull one out, thaw just enough to slice, and refreeze what’s left. Serve on veggies, grilled steaks, fish or chicken.


To make:

Bring the butter to room temperature. Place in a bowl and stir the ingredients together with a wooden spoon. Season lightly to taste with sea salt if desired.

To serve:

  • Slice into 1/4” slices when cold and place on top of grilled steak or chicken.

  • Place a thin slice over fish before baking.

  • Bring to room temperature and stir to soften in a bowl. Dollop on veggies, protein, a baked potato or serve with bread.

Start with one (4oz) stick of unsalted butter and add:

Sesame Butter (green beans, chicken, steak)

  • 2 Tbls. toasted sesame seeds, black or white

  • 2 Tbls. minced chives or scallions

  • 2 tsp. sesame oil

  • 2 tsp. soy sauce

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Rosemary Olive Butter (chicken, roasted potatoes, with sourdough bread)

  • 2 Tbls. fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped

  • 4 Tbls. oil-cured olives, chopped and drained

Dill and Lemon (fish, spring veggies like asparagus)

  • 4 Tbls. coarsely chopped dill

  • 1 Tbls. lemon zest

  • Sea salt to taste

Chive Butter (steak, potatoes)

  • 4-6 Tbls. chopped fresh chives

Cilantro and Pine Nut (chicken, grilled summer veggies, fish)

  • 4 Tbls. cilantro

  • 3 Tbls. pine nuts

Green Peppercorn Butter (delicious on steak!)

  • 1 Tbls. green peppercorns, drained, crushed lightly

  • 1-2 pinches of cinnamon

  • 1 tsp. minced garlic (or use a zester)

Vanilla Butter (baked sweet potatoes and roasted root veggies)

  • 1 vanilla bean split, scrape seeds out and blend with butter

  • ¼ tsp good quality vanilla extract

  • pinch cinnamon

Smoked Paprika Butter (grilled corn, shrimp, chicken)

  • 1 stick unsalted butter

  • 1 tsp each smoked paprika and sweet or hot paprika

  • Dash cayenne (optional)

  • Zest of ½ a lemon, about 1 tsp

  • ½ tsp salt

Gorgonzola Sage Butter (steak or chicken, rolls)

  • 1 stick unsalted butter

  • 2 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

  • 1 Tbls minced fresh sage or 1 tsp dried

  • Sea salt to taste