Butter is delicious on its own—cook with it or baste a sautéed dish with it. But compound butters are a separate class of flavor enhancer. And they couldn’t be easier to make.
As we’ve said before, everything is better with a compound butter. A generous scoop just before serving can replace the bright flavors that may be lost during cooking, and the melting butter turns into a luxurious sauce over the finished dish. Simply add any aromatics, spices, even cheese to softened butter and mix until well-combined. The sky is the limit with the mix-ins, too—tailor them to whatever you’re cooking or (even better) use up some odds and ends you may have kicking around your fridge.
Sign up for the Notes from the Test Kitchen newsletter
Our favorite tips and recipes, enjoyed by 2 million+ subscribers!
Speaking of odds and ends, if you’ve opened a tin of anchovies recently chances are you didn’t finish the whole thing. (You only ever need a few for a recipe, anyway.) This is your sign to turn this powerhouse ingredient into a compound butter. More specifically, Anchovy-Garlic Butter with Lemon and Parsley. The unique salty tang of the anchovies paired with garlic and brightened with fresh herbs and lemon juice makes it a versatile and delicious complement.
Anchovy Taste TestEven if you’d never put anchovies on a pizza or a salad, a tin of these little fish fillets deserves a spot in your pantry.
As for what to serve it on? You can combine just about anything with this compound butter for a savory boost to your next dish. Melt it over Grilled Steak Tips, Broccoli, and Red Onion; add it to one-pot dishes like Cod Baked in Foil with Leeks and Carrots; or spoon it directly into a pan of asparagus. Or, treat it like regular whipped butter and spread it on a baguette (bonus points if it’s a homemade baguette). A little goes a long way, but if you like anchovies as much as we do, give it a try.
Ready to make it? Here's our recipe.
Anchovy-Garlic Butter with Lemon and Parsley
- Whip butter with fork until light and fluffy.
- Mix in ¼ cup minced fresh parsley, 2 minced and rinsed anchovy fillets, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest to blend flavors, about 10 minutes, or roll into a log and refrigerate. (Compound butter can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days or frozen, wrapped tightly in plastic, for up to 2 months.)