When we are smack dab in the middle of summer I’m always excited for the incredible bounty that comes from farmer’s markets and straight out of our own garden. Gorgeous vegetables are all over the place, in every color imaginable, and I love enjoying them raw or just steamed to preserve every delicious flavor. Admittedly this can get a bit boring after a while, but since evenings are still busy for us in the summer it’s hard to get out of a routine with new cooking techniques.
That’s where compound butters come it. Compound butters are packed full of flavor and can be anything from super savory to incredibly sweet. They work well on just about anything, depending on the flavors used in the butter, and are a great way to finish a dish with flair. The great news is that they take little to no time to make as well!
I like to mix herbs and garlic into mine, then pipe them into a silicon ice cube tray to have perfectly portioned little pats of amazing compound butter ready to go. Just let them harden up in the fridge and pop one cube out onto some steamed beans or broccoli, freshly grilled meat or corn, or into the middle of a steaming hot potato. With virtually no work at all you’ve made an amazing meal in seconds that can’t be beat!
I loved the challenge of making a compound butter with balsamic vinegar in it. The flavor of balsamic vinegar with garlic and fresh thyme is heavenly, and I just knew that if I could make the compound butter work it would be magical. I’m happy to report I was right! The key to the whole thing is to have everything at room temperature. If the butter is even remotely cold it won’t allow the balsamic to mix into it. Conversely if the balsamic isn’t completely cool it will melt the butter and turn into a big buttery mess. When all of the ingredients are at the same temperature they can be whipped into submission for a beautiful and delicious condiment you’ll love to eat.
The only other note is that a mixer of some kind is key to making this butter work - hand mixers or stand mixers are great choices to keep the butter creamy while mixing in the balsamic vinegar!
Ingredients (Makes 8 servings)
3/4 cup De Nigris balsamic vinegar, we chose Silver Eagle for this recipe - 2 teaspoons honey - 8 tablespoons unsalted sweet cream butter at room temperature - 1/2 teaspoon salt - 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme - 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh garlic
- Stir together the balsamic vinegar and honey until the honey is completely dissolved.
- Set aside.
- In a bowl cream together the butter, salt, fresh thyme and garlic until combined.
- Add the balsamic mixture and start to mix on low speed to begin incorporating the vinegar into the butter.
- Increase the speed as the mixture comes together more, finally mixing on high speed until combined and creamy.
- Immediately put the compound butter into a piping bag or gallon plastic bag.
- Snip off the corner and pipe into a silicon ice cube tray.
- Tap the tray on the counter, then place in the refrigerator for at least 4-6 hours to harden.