Umami Butter - Your fridge is your friend
May 5th, 2011

Today’s post was supposed to feature one of my new sweet favorites, cold as ice and bright pink in color. But then a nasty bug stroke and I couldn’t drag myself back into the kitchen for over a week. Instead I turned to an old favorite of mine, easy and super quick to prepare, a lifesaving staple for your fridge.  This is what happens when compound butter goes umami.

Thinking back I always had a heart for compound butter. One of my all-time favorite recipes can be found in my first book (Steph just wrote about it, in German) and my second book features four different butter recipes. This time around the mission was to use up everything our fridge had to offer and conjure an umami version to tickle your tastebuds. Be warned though: This is serious stuff, it’s not called umami for nothing!

I usually add everything my fridge’s got in its back pockets just as the fancy takes me – let your taste buds be your guide (Yet, if you feel overwhelmed with too much freedom: I took notes and put down the concrete amounts from my most recent butter concoction. Feel free to leave out and adapt to your own liking).

Top of my list are the typical umami representatives: Anchovies, tomato paste, black olives, parmesan, matched by fresh herbs, lemon zest, garlic and some additional spices. While I love to nibble the umami butter straight from the bowl (oh yes!), this kind of butter found its true calling toasted on thick slices of sourdough bread – it tastes out of this world, a great way to get an informal kitchen party started and feed a hungry crowd. And please don’t skimp on the butter! Yet there is more: If you form the butter into a log or roll and keep it wrapped and chilled in the fridge, it becomes the perfect flavor booster for BBQ parties. Serve it with grilled meats, vegetables or corn on the cob, and make sure there’s enough for everybody…

Make sure the butter has room temperature and is really soft. The shortcut I use, if it is not: Cut the butter into small cubes and beat with your KitchenAid/flat beater until really soft and creamy – this may take some minutes. (more tips on how to soften butter from the kitchn)

Prepare and measure the ingredients: Wash, pad dry and finely chop the herbs, peel and finely chop the garlic cloves, grate parmesan and lemon rind and finely chop anchovies, dried tomatoes and olives. Cream everything into the butter, add the tomato paste, the olive oil, some ground black pepper and chili and season to taste (no need to use salt!).

Fill into ramekins and chill. Or use right away, slather generously on thick slices of bread and toast in the oven until golden brown and crisp (takes very few minutes under the broiler, 180-200°C/355-390°F). Or chill until firm enough to form into a roll, then wrap into parchment paper or foil and chill (great for BBQs). Keeps in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.

Umami Butter

Recipe source: own creation

Prep time: ~10 min.

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Ingredients (yields ~300 g butter):

250 g soft butter, unsalted

~10 g fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, chives)

2 garlic cloves

~20 g freshly grated parmesan

zest of 1/2 an organic lemon

~10 g anchovies (in oil)

~10 g dried tomatoes (the softer kind)

~10 g Kalamata olives (pits removed)

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp olive oil

freshly ground black pepper

freshly ground dried chili, optional/to taste

spread on thick slices of baguette or bread and toast in the oven, serve with meat or anything BBQed

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2011

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