Named for things that please me (“me gusta” in Spanish) and rhymes with balabusta (Yiddish for “good homemaker”).

When It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It: Compound Butters

Sometimes it takes a pet peeve to make you realize that you should not necessarily be annoyed at all.

Take compound butters, those melanges which show up so often in trendy restaurants, when a well-meaning chef has incorporated huckleberries or some other unfortunate choice into perfectly nice butter.

Meripaviljonki Restaurant, Helsinki, Finland

Meripaviljonki Restaurant, Helsinki, Finland

It was a bad omen when it, butter which clearly had been messed with, arrived at the otherwise promising Meripaviljonki Restaurant floating in a scenic North Sea inlet in Helsinki, Finland.

But, what a revelation! The extra ingredient worked into the butter was more butter, browned to a turn with a wonderful nutty flavor. It was perfect as it melted into hot-from-the-oven bread, a strong start to a delicious dinner.

Brown Butter Flavored Butter

Brown Butter Flavored Butter

“Why didn’t WE think of this?” myMEGusta emailed to a foodie friend.

“Compound” butter is simply butter into which some ingredient other than salt has been incorporated. They are actually very simple to make, just soften and mush around with the “extra”.

Tarragon Butter on Corn

Tarragon Butter on Corn

Herbed butters, for example, tarragon butter, can be wonderful, but have to be super fresh. These are particularly nice on corn on the cob.

The only other mixed butter which myMEGusta really enjoys is the classic Maitre d’Hotel butter. This sounds fancy, but is just butter with lemon juice and fresh parsley, easy for anyone to make, and it adds a really nice visual and flavor touch to grilled steak or seafood.

Maitre d'Hotel Butter Melting on a Steak

Maitre d’Hotel Butter Melting on a Steak

Honeyed butter sometimes appears on brunch tables, somewhat appropriate for those baskets of sweet rolls at its side. When it shows up at dinner time, we don’t touch it. Ditto for fruity butters.

Making Compound Butter

Making Compound Butter

But, readers may differ, so share your ideas!

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3 thoughts on “When It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It: Compound Butters

  1. Blue Butter is also fine with steak. One part blue cheese, two parts butter.

  2. That sounds delicious!

  3. Butter is bad for you, so is sugar, salt, egg yolks, white flour, fish because it can contain Mercury, and most fruits and vegetables at the supermarket. God forbid, don’t eat chicken, beef and pork!
    I am so glad that you feature butter in your story and the butter at the Meripaviljonki Restaurant sounds wonderful. Butter is a challenging ingredient, as soon as it is stirred vigorously it changes completely. I hate whipped butter piped into a little cup served in fancy restaurants. Regarding compound butter the ingredients were always kneaded into the butter. Joe Baum, the famous genius of Restaurant Associates served butter as is, just a chunk of best quality butter without any further embellishment. Keep butter on the table!

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