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5 Funky, Herbless Compound Butters and How to Make Them

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At a recent dinner at Missy Robbins' Williamsburg restaurant, Lilia, my normally even-keeled boyfriend let out a string of expletives after tasting the butter. It didn't take me long to follow suit, as I discovered that the butter, served in a half-cup dollop next to bread and prosciutto wasn't just any butter. It was Parmigiano Butter.

Photo by James Ransom

The butter, creamed together with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, maintains its creaminess and faintly tangy flavor, but also takes on the earthy aged flavor of the Parmesan. While the restaurant served it with other aged Italian favorites, it would be just as perfect on a piece of toast rubbed with garlic. To make it, blitz a hunk of Parmesan in a food processor, and mix a tablespoon at a time into a very softened stick of butter, to taste.

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Inspired by my new favorite food (I could happily eat it with a spoon), here are 4 other things to mix into butter—beyond the standard roster of herbs:

Brown Butter Raspberries
Brown Butter Raspberries

1. Maple Syrup

  • How to make it: Just add the syrup slowly (you don't want your butter too sweet—or soupy) into whipped butter, then brush it over toast.
  • How to use it: Might we suggest browned maple-butter over raspberries? Just sub out the brown sugar in this recipe and add a bit of maple butter instead of regular butter.
Soft Pretzels with Beer Cheese
Soft Pretzels with Beer Cheese

2. Beer

  • How to make it: Make it in the same way you would beer cheese, subbing out the cheddar for butter—it'll be less sharp, so consider adding extra garlic, but you'll be able to taste the beer more clearly.
  • How to use it: Pair it with a warm German pretzel.

3. Mustard and Balsamic

  • How to make it: Whip reduced balsamic vinegar and Dijon or mustard seeds directly into butter.

  • How to use it: Like at Lilia, spread the balsamic butter over bread and top with Prosciutto.

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This is How You One-Up Your Steak's Compound Butter
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This is How You One-Up Your Steak's Compound Butter

4. Goat Cheese

  • How to make it: To make goat cheese butter, whip roughly 2 tablespoons room-temperature goat cheese into 4 tablespoons butter, or to taste.
  • How to use it: Add it on top of a steak.

What are your favorite things to mix into butter? Are you as in love with it as we are? Tell us in the comments below!

Tags: parmesan butter, compound butter