When it comes to catering, one of the Foodisima go-to words is “elevate.” It’s at the heart of everything we do. The idea: create this thing beautifully, perfectly, simply and it’s wonderful. But now what can we add that will elevate it to the next level? And that which elevates can be quite simple. A classic: smoked salmon on toast rounds smeared with cream cheese. Lovely. Now hit it with capers and thinly sliced red onion and it’s a canape. It has been elevated very simply.
Composed butter is like that, too. The bread we serve at our caterings is already very special. House-made, there is always a vegetable ingredient — sometimes spinach, sometimes potato, sometimes olive, sometimes nettle — even in our gluten-free breads. We believe this vegetable element adds freshness to the loaf. This is undocumented but it has been our experience and so we always do it for catering. (The bread stays fresher longer. Beautiful! Also, it’s a pretty good example of something simple elevated.)
And what is a bigger treat than bread with lovely butter? And here you see another of our classic elevations. Though sometimes plain butter is available, most of what is on offer at an event catered by Foodisima is composed. Beurre Composé for that extra little something — the surprise in the mouth — that composed butter offers.
You can — and we have! — make Beurre Composé with any number of ingredients. The addition of Chanterelle Mushrooms produces a butter with a warm, earthy flavor and a golden glow. Curry, mustard, marjoram, dill, rosemary, tarragon, paprika, capers, chives, curry powder, shallot, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, anchovies or almost whatever you imagine can be added to butter to produce an interesting spread or topping for meat or fish. When making a compound butter, think of what the resulting spread is intended for. The compound butter you make to melt on a steak might be different than what will be spread on bread.
After many years, Foodisima has a signature Beurre Composé that never fails to delight the hundreds of people we feed each wedding season. We begin with high quality butter, then add fresh parsley and lemon zest. This is a very simple composed butter that people just adore. Something about the bright flavor of the lemon, the fresh flavor of the parsley and the rich fattiness of the butter that, for us and many of our customers, provides the perfect balance.
After all of this discussion, you will find Beurre Composé almost distressingly easy to make. Easiest of all with a food processor, but you can mix the ingredients in by hand if you must.
Foodisma’s Classic Beurre Composé
1 pound highest quality butter
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons parsley, trimmed and ready for chopping
1 tablespoon lemon zest (the zest of one large lemon)
With the chopping blade in place, add olive oil, parsley and lemon zest to the food processor bowl. Process until blended.
Roughly cut butter into chunks and add the chunks to the ingredients in the food processor. Process for several minutes, until the butter lightens and changes color. Scrape butter from bowl and place on parchment paper or cling wrap, to be formed into logs and either refrigerated or frozen. Alternately, spoon into ramekins or small canning jars (as shown) for easy transporting and serving.
For table service, the logs can be cut into discs for an elegant presentation. For the buffet table, we prefer low wide-mouth canning jars with the lid off but the ring back on for a rustic but elegant look.
Chill at least two hours before serving. The butter will last easily for two weeks in the refrigerator.