How to make garlic herb butter for steak. Use this delicious preparation to add flavor and richness to a variety of beef cuts and other foods.
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Read on for relevant information and step-by-step pictures (2 mins)
About This Compound Butter for Steak Recipe
Classic compound butters are prepared by working softened whole butter with ingredients ranging from vegetable purees and sauce reductions to fresh herbs and spices. They are usually seasoned with salt and pepper and often benefit from the inclusion of an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice or wine vinegar.
When the intention is to serve the delicious condiment over grilled or seared steaks certain flavoring agents are favored over others. This recipe combines two of the most popular options from the classic French repertoire of about forty compound butters – garlic butter and herb butter.
The method of preparation is very straight forward and completely accessible to novice or experienced home chefs alike. Enjoy!
Garlic Herb Butter Recipe Ingredients
Good butter is its own reward but flavorwise garlic herbed butter may just be the best compound butter for steak! Simplicity is hard to beat.
Butter. It is essential that you use the highest quality butter you can find. Go with imported Irish or domestic European style butter. They contain less water and taste richer. When considering salted or unsalted versions the better strategy is to go with the latter. You can always add salt as needed (and you will be true to the classic French approach).
Garlic. Make sure that the garlic cloves you are using are not from an old bulb. You want them to taste fresh, aromatic and not too pungent. See the Notes & Tips below on mellowing raw garlic flavor if you are interested.
Herbs. Avoid dried herbs when making compound butter. Fresh Italian parsley, fresh rosemary, fresh chives, basil, sage, oregano, dill, thyme, summer savory are all excellent for herbed butter and famously compatible with garlic. You can make single herb or multi-herb versions.
Salt. If using unsalted butter as recommended add kosher salt as needed.
NOTE: Use these classic proportions as a baseline and feel free to adjust to taste: 2 garlic cloves to 1 stick butter & 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped herb(s) to 1 stick of butter. Stronger flavored herbs like rosemary or lovage are best used in smaller quantities.
How to Make Herbed Butter for Steak
The step-by-step pictures below illustrate how to make compound butter for steak. You will find the concise instructions in the recipe card at the end of the post.
We are taking a purist approach and concurrently making:
- one herb butter with garlic and rosemary and
- one with garlic and parsley
A delectable variation is to use only garlic chives – they have the aromatic qualitites and restrained bite of garlic and make for a fresh tasting herbaceous butter.
For a combination of herbs follow the same steps.
Prep. Mince the garlic very well and finely chop the herbs. Note – chop rosemary really, really fine. Not only will doing this create a most agreable texture for the herb butter (who wants to chew on whole rosemary leaves on top of their steak?) but it will release more of the essential oils which equates to stronger flavor.
Mix. In a small bowl combine the softened butter, garlic, herb(s) of choice and salt. It is never a bad idea to slice the butter stick before you use it. Work in the ingredients with a fork.
Roll & refrigerate. Transfer the compound butter mixture onto an appropriately sized piece of plastic wrap, foil or parchment paper (see notes below). Roll as shown and twist the ends to tighten into a cylinder shape. Refrigerate.
Important Notes & Tips
- To subdue the garlic bite a bit you can do any of the following:
- blanche the cloves before you mince them
- smash cloves with your knife (press with flat side), then mince really well
- use a garlic press to create crushed garlic with a pasty consistency
- use the classic pestle and mortar approach
- You can use plastic wrap, foil or parchment paper to wrap the butter. Plastic tends to result in a smoother log while foil and parchment paper tend to form creases that indent the outside of the rolled butter. If presentation is particularly important to you – use plastic.
- You can also use a small cookie dough scoop to form little balls and set them onto parchment paper lined baking sheet and refrigerate to firm. (Placing the scooped room temperature butter balls in the freezer for a few minutes is a short cut.) This method is best when you know that you will use up all the butter briefly after you made it and do not need to store it overnight or longer.
- The classic French method directs that you allow herb butter to sit for about an hour before you use it. This helps the aromatic compounds of the herbs to infuse the butter.
Using a Food Processor to Make Compound Butter Recipe
You can use a food processor to compound this recipe if you’d like.
Simply place the butter and other ingredients in the bowl and pulse a few times. This method is obviously time and effort saving when making large batches of herbed butter and is widely used at steakhouses and other restaurants serving steak, fish and other dishes that can benefit from a disc of the flavorful condiment.
At home we feel that taking out the equipment, setting it up and then cleaning it and putting it away amounts to more work than simply working in the herbs by hand. It is really up to you.
Ways to Present Garlic Herb Butter for Steak
The two classic ways are outlined below.
- You slice rounds from the garlic herb butter, serve on chilled plate next to steaks or place directly onto individual steaks as you serve them or while large cuts such as a Bavette are resting.
- You warm up the butter a bit and whisk it or work it with a fork, then serve it in a small bowl or gravy boat as you serve the steak. Avoid overworking it.
This Compound Butter with Garlic and Herbs is Also Great With:
- toast or warm, crusty freshly baked bread to make garlic bread
- pasta (instead of garlic butter sauce)
- grilled chicken breast
- fish fillets
- grilled shrimp
- grilled lobster tails
- lean pork chops
- baked potatoes
- corn on the cob
- steamed vegetables
- garlic bread
- Thanksgiving turkey
How to Store Garlic Herb Compound Butter
How long homemade garlic butter lasts depends on how you choose to store it. The time range is from a couple of weeks if stored in the fridge to a couple of months if stored in the freezer.
Try to use it sooner rather than later in order to enjoy a fresher and better tasting condiment on your steaks (butter can easily absorb odors from adjacent foods).
Refrigerate. Keep the rolled compound butter in the butter container of your refrigerator.
Freeze. It is best to vacuum seal already refirgerated and wrapped garlic herbed butter before you place it in the freezer.
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- 1 stick unsalted butter (8 tbsp), softened
- 2 cloves garlic (or to taste)
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh herb(s) such as Italian parsley, rosemary, oregano, chives etc.
- kosher salt, to taste
- Slice the softened butter and place it in a small mixing bowl. Finely chop the herb(s) and add them to the butter. Mince the garlic cloves and add them too.
- Season with salt to taste then use a fork to work in the ingredients into the butter.
- Transfer the mixture onto an appropriately sized sheet of plastic wrap, foil or parchment paper. Gently roll and tighten the ends to form a compact cylinder shape. Refrigerate to firm up.
*Try to use imported Irish or domestic European style butter. They have higher butterfat content and taste richer.
For useful tips and insights into classic compound butter for steak preparation, serving and storage read the full post above.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 104Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 42mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g