30 May, 2014

Café de Paris butter

This is a killer condiment which I’m sure will enhance all sorts of things. It was invented in Geneva, presumably at the Café de Paris, and I believe its original use was for steak. I used it to liven up some frozen cooked lobster, a task it performed admirably. I’m planning to use the leftovers on some grilled mussels for tapas. You can of course freeze leftovers in handy-sized chunks.

The list of ingredients is long, but many of them are items you have on hand anyway (at least, I do). And with a food processor it’s quick to put together. I’ve listed the herbs I used, but you can vary them according to what you have on hand/what you like. If using on steak, a teaspoon of mustard might be a nice addition. Whatever you use it for, the idea is to put it on your chosen food in slices about 50mm thick, and then grill it for a few minutes to melt and brown it.

250 g butter at room temperature
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 fat clove garlic, finely chopped (I used new season garlic)
1 tsp curry powder
40 ml dry white wine or white vermouth
2 egg yolks
2 anchovy fillets, chopped
2-3 small gherkins, finely chopped
1 tbs capers, chopped
1 small bay leaf, finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme or marjoram, leaves only
2 sprigs fennel, chopped
1 tsp chopped tarragon
1 tsp chopped chives
juice of half a small lemon
a few drops of Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce will do)
a pinch of pimentón or cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Melt a knob of butter in a small frying pan and gently saute the shallot and garlic for about 5 minutes, till soft but not brown. Add the curry powder and stir for another minute to release the flavour. Then pour in the wine and let it reduce slightly. Set aside to cool.

Put everything else in the food processor and whiz briefly to blend. Scrape down the sides and add the shallot mixture. Then pulse a few times, just enough to mix everything together; there should still be distinct bits in it.

Spread out a piece of cling film and scrape the butter onto it. Shape butter into a rough rectangle and then roll the cling film round it and twist the ends to compress it. Put in the fridge for at least an hour to firm up before use (or you can freeze it).

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