A compound butter is simply a butter with the addition of a variety of ingredients producing different flavours.
The finished butter can then be used in several ways:
- As a simple accompaniment. For example parsley butter. This helps the grilled item to remain moist and enhance the flavour and presentation.
- As a filling. An example is shrimp or salmon butter. It is then piped into small cooked pastry cases prior to them being garnished, decorated and masked with aspic jelly for service as a cocktail. these butter fillings may also be made from various other shellfish, such as crab and prawns or from meat purees such as fresh or smoked chicken and game and liver pate.
- As a liaison. for example at the finishing stages of sauce. Americaine and Lobster Americaine. The coral and intestines of lobster are sieved then mixed with an equal amount of butter. This mixture is whisked into the hot sauce, the sauce passed through a fine strainer and re-heated without boiling. The purpose of the lobster butter is to thicken the sauce, enrich the flavour and enhance the colour.
- The majority of compound butters can be prepared well in advance wrapped and stored in a refrigerator. The butters may be sliced before service and the slices kept in iced water to keep them separate. An alternative method of presentation is to pipe the butters using a star tube onto a tray and refrigerate until required.
- It should be noted that certain dishes dictate the use of compound butters as part of the garnish eg steak or lamb cutlets “Vert Pre” requires parsley butter.
- Due to the high fat content and the bland flavour of butter, compound butter needs to be seasoned to bring out the desired flavour.