Montpellier Butter


This greatest of all butters is traditionally made in a mortar with a pestle, but a food processor will do. It is very good with cold poached fish, especially salmon, but is equally delicious with hot grilled fish. Spooned between slices of cold roast veal or pork, the slices reassembled, left for a day, and served at room temperature, it creates a lifelong memory.


  • 6 leaves spinach
  • ½ bunch watercress leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chervil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 shallots, peeled, chopped
  • 2 cornichons
  • 4 salted anchovy fillets, soaked, drained
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 hard-cooked egg yolks
  • 2 large raw egg yolks
  • ¼ pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar


Blanch the spinach, watercress, herbs, and shallots in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain, refresh under cold water, and squeeze dry. Put them in a mortar or food processor. Add the cornichons, anchovies, capers, garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Work with a pestle or process to a smooth paste. Add the egg yolks and the butter and process again until thoroughly mixed. Put through a food mill, fitted with the fine-mesh disk, into a bowl or back into the mortar and whisk in the oil by hand. The mixture should be glossy and as smooth as velvet. Beat in the vinegar and taste to see if it needs more salt and pepper.