Every cook who looks for ways to perk up weeknight meals or make spur-of-the-moment entertaining easier ought to have a roll of flavored butter in his or her freezer. Just think: Grill a steak or a piece of fish and finish it with a slice of this horseradish butter. Roast some fingerling potatoes and dab them with the butter. Put the butter on a humble baked potato to dress it up. Soften the butter, spread it on crostini, and top it with smoked salmon for an instant appetizer. Having this kind of homemade food on hand takes cooking from good to great.–Diane Morgan
What is compound butter?
Yup. What she said. We slather, schmear, and otherwise anoint all manner of things with all sorts of flavored buttahs, er, that is, compound butters. A whole roast chicken before sliding it in the oven. Chicken parts after searing. Some virtuous (but not for long) minestrone. Matzoh—whether store-bought or homemade. And while a melange of herbs or a cacophony of chiles smashed into a lump of butter works swell, why think just in savory terms? Mash some preserves into butter as a stunning pink topper for toast, pancakes, waffles, and the like—perfect for little princesses. Ditto honey and a touch of cinnamon or teensily chopped candied ginger. Shall we go on?
Lemon Horseradish Butter
- One (2-by-1-inch) piece horseradish root, peeled and cut into small chunks
- Freshly grated zest from 1 lemon, preferably organic
- 1 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
- 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley leaves
- In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the horseradish until finely grated. Scatter the lemon zest and salt over the top and pulse once or twice until evenly distributed. Add the butter and process until smooth, creamy, and well combined, about 6 pulses. Add the parsley and pulse just until evenly distributed.
- Place a 2-foot-long sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap on a work surface. Using a rubber spatula, spread the butter into a rough log about 8 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the parchment or plastic wrap snugly around the log and, using your palms, roll the log back and forth to shape it into a smooth, uniform cylinder. Twist both ends like a candy wrapper to seal. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Originally published March 18, 2013.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Loved, loved, loved it! Simple, delicious, and very different. I served it with simple baked salmon fillets and everyone loved it. We eat a lot of fish, and this’ll be my go-to to serve with fish. I’m sure it’d also be delicious on beef.
Delicious and so simple to make, this compound butter is versatile enough to perk up anything from a slice of crusty bread to a grilled steak. I admit my favorite application is just slathered on some good bread. Use fresh horseradish if you can—the flavor is subtle and earthy and you’ll end up with a butter that won’t overwhelm more delicate foods.
This butter is a simple yet delicious enhancement for any dish that would benefit from horseradish. This would be great on a pan-seared steak or pork chop. I chose to use it on salt-encrusted baked potatoes. The recipe calls for a food processor, which would be just fine, but a wooden spoon or rubber spatula will work as well. Even doing this by hand—grating, chopping, zesting, and mixing—only took a few minutes. Very little work with a rich payoff.
This was an easy and delicious way to perk up a grilled steak and would be fabulous on so many other things, too. The horseradish was very easy to peel and cube and the food processor made quick work of chopping it up. The butter was easily incorporated and only took about 10 to 15 seconds with the processor running continuously. In fact, we enjoy horseradish so much in my home that I’d increase the amount next time to get a little more zing. Just make sure to put the butter in at the very end so the horseradish doesn’t lose its flavor.
This is the perfect compound butter for a big, thick, grilled juicy steak. We also enjoyed it on oven-roasted salmon. It’s important to follow the directions precisely—on my first hurried attempt I threw everything into the food processor at once and the horseradish never became fully incorporated. Once the horseradish is grated and you add the butter, it takes about 6 two-second pulses to incorporate. I used sea salt and it was quite salty; I think kosher salt would be too much.
Flavored butter is a speedy way of adding flavor to simple dishes—cleaning the food processor took longer than making this recipe. It took about 1 minute to process the horseradish, lemon zest, salt, and butter until creamy and smooth. The horseradish added a welcomed savory hot kick, but not overwhelmingly so, although the lemony flavor was too subtle for me. As it was barely detectable, I added more zest (from a second lemon) and more lemon juice (about 1 teaspoon) to the remaining butter (about 1 cup). This really seemed to enhance the flavor and complemented the horseradish. The parsley added an earthy herbaceousness, though chives would be great here, too. So far the butter has been used on grilled shrimp, but as there’s plenty left (thankfully), we’ll throw it under the skin of a chicken before roasting. It’d also be lovely over grilled asparagus or added to roasted root vegetables. Creamy mashed potatoes or white bean purée would surely benefit as well. I’ve a “log” pile of various butters in the freezer. Will make this again and add to my repertoire. I love this because it takes half a second to pull one out and vamp up a recipe on short notice if need be.