Preparing Compound Butters

Beurres Composées

Appears in
The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine

By French Culinary Institute

Published 2021

  • About
Compound butters are created by incorporating one or more aromatic ingredients into unsalted butter. It is appropriate that we discuss these butters here, as one of the most common classic presentations for fish is a slice of cold compound butter placed on top of a hot piece of fish so that it melts over the top at service. However, meat and poultry are also finished in this way.

Composed butters are generally prepared by whipping butter en pommade (to a thick, creamy consistency) and then blending in raw or cooked flavoring ingredients—the variety is almost endless. The mixture is then formed into a neat log shape, wrapped in plastic film, and refrigerated until firm. At service, a thick slice is cut from the log and placed on the hot fish so that the melting begins as the item is being served. Uncooked compound butters are used as a garnish that will melt into a sauce. Cooked compound butters are used to finish sauces.