This was a tough assignment for sure; this reviewing of a book all about compound butters. First there was the huge effort of deciding sweet or savory…that was almost unfair so I decided to try both before making a decision. One savory version using caramelized onions was terrific; we used it on baked potatoes and bread and a dollop topped some grilled chicken before it completely disappeared. I love caramelized onions on so many things and I can assure you that mixed with some additional butter they are nothing short of divine. Still, in this butter competition to win 1st place in my heart, I must admit that the sweet version won first prize; we just LOVED this combination of butter, vanilla bean and citrus zest…and so did our English muffins!
Lucy Vaserfirer has crafted a simple book with outstanding combinations of one of my very favorite things. Butter. All butter. Butters with fruit, with caviar, with vegetables and with spices. Butter, butter, butter. And more butter! Her blog at www.hungrycravings.com is filled with her recipes and techniques with a focus on demystifying chef techniques for everyone. Lucy is the author of Seared to Perfection: The Simple Art of Sealing in Flavor and Flavored Butters: How to Make Them, Shape Them, and Use Them as Spreads, Toppings, and Sauces, which she styled and photographed herself and is she is now currently at work on a cookbook all about marinades. In her spare time (HA!) Lucy is an Adjunct Instructor of Cooking at Clark College in Vancouver, WA and at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, OR.
My friend was here while I wrote this post and was glancing through Lucy’s book; I now have a list of those she thinks should be next in line and we both agreed that Coffee Butter (butter, turbinado sugar and dry espresso) needs to be made stat. And Gorgonzola Chive Butter. Plus Lemon, Parsley and Caper Brown Butter and, well, the list could go on and on; in fact I think I need a new fridge just for all of the butters I’m envisioning will be made!
This particular butter is wonderful; sweet butter is combined with vanilla bean and a combination of both orange and lemon zest for the perfect morning treat. While I know I would love it on some cranberry scones or simple crepes; a more typical morning here would see me lucky to get some English muffins in the toaster (though it reminds me I need to make some more of this English muffin bread!). It elevates such a simple morning staple into something much more special and I just know the friends I’m staying with are happy that this morning will see the ‘hands off’ sign lifted from their gorgeous bowl filled with this delicious butter!
- 8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 vanilla bean (I used a tsp of vanilla bean paste)
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp grated orange zest
- 2 tsp grated lemon zest
- Beat the butter in a mixer until light and creamy.
- Cut the vanilla bean in half and scrape the beans out of the pod; save the pod for another use (I love to put them into a bowl of sugar; vanilla sugar is wonderful).
- Add the beans, sugar and both orange and lemon zests to the bowl and beat until blended.
- Scrape from the bowl and either pack into ramekins or pipe into a bowl.