Compound Butters: Boosts for Boring Food

As vehicles for fresh herbs and aromatics like garlic and citrus zest, compound butters can brighten up simply cooked fish, meat, and vegetables, even baked potatoes. Mixed, rolled into logs, and wrapped in plastic film or waxed paper, herb butters keep well in the freezer. That makes it easy to have a variety on hand to slice as needed.

Home cooks on Chowhound favor a few easy methods for making compound herb butters. You can simply soften unflavored butter at room temperature, then use a rubber spatula to mix in the herbs and flavorings. Or drop softened butter and aromatics into a zipper bag, seal, and knead with your hands till combined, alliegator says; scrape out the flavored butter and discard the bag. Easiest of all: Use a mini food processor first to chop the herbs, then process with the butter. And to get every last bit of deliciousness, Caroline1 likes to wipe out the bowl with a piece of bread, a cook's treat.

Need flavor inspiration? Try these compound butter recipes from the CHOW Test Kitchen: Orange-Parsley; Chile-Lime-Tequila (pictured); Blue Cheese and Chive; and Molasses-Clove.

Discuss: herb butter: are there easy ways?

Photo by Chris Rochelle / CHOW.com