I saw this in a recent issue of Bon Appetit. I saw it, and I wanted it. And it stuck there, in the back of my brain, waiting for a good reason to jump out and get made. And then I saw an opportunity. A couple friends invited us over to grill, and I was thrilled to ask to bring corn on the cob (with miso butter, of course!). Now if you haven’t heard of compound butters before, be prepared to have your world rocked. They are the easiest, most low-maintenance way to add some incredible flavor to your food. And all you need is a bowl, spatula, softened butter, and your flavorings. Some of my favorites are anchovy compound butter (on steak!), or cilantro-lime compound butter (corn, chicken, fish, shoe leather). You could go any direction with this though. If you use a small food processor, you can even incorporate fairly large amounts of liquid (think white wine/lemon/dijon). But let’s get back to the issue at hand… how to make it.
Start off with some good butter. Really. Something like Kerrygold has an appreciably better consistency, flavor, color, etc. Store brand has a high water content and overall is just not as tasty. But if not buying fancy butter is going to get in the way of you making compound butter, some compound butter is better than none!
Soften that butter, thoroughly. During the summer, I can leave it out on the counter. During the winter, our house hovers around 60 degrees, and it’s just not warm enough to sufficiently soften butter. But luckily our microwave has a “butter soften” setting – no joke. And it works like a champ. However you generally soften butter, it should work. But you want it a hair softer than what you’d aim for in most baking recipes. Makes the mixing portion a little easier.
Put the butter in a bowl. Put your flavors in a bowl (if they’re very wet, you’ll need a food processor), mix.
4 Tablespoons miso
pinch red pepper flakes
That’s it. Compound butter.
To store, my favorite method is to roll it into logs. When serving, you can either slice off hunks, or unwrap the waxed paper and use them like a grease pastel to butter corn or rub a piece of toast.
To make a log:
Make a blob in a square of waxed paper
Fold over one side of the paper, then use a straight edge (I use a bench scraper) to push the blob into a more loggy shape (loggy is totally a word, right?).
Then you just roll up the rest of the waxed paper and twist the ends. I ended up making half a pound of miso compound butter, so I made 2 logs. One went directly into the fridge, and the other got vacuum sealed, labelled, and frozen.