It’s 5 pm, and today has been long. The last thing I want to do is go home and cook, at least, not until I’ve opened a bottle of wine, which usually leads to an hour of sitting on the couch followed by dialing for dinner. I’ve got a fridge filled with ripe tomatoes, sugary-sweet peaches, sockeye salmon and crisp green beans. Honestly, I would rather debate Miley’s new haircut (get over it!) than face another night of steamed veggies and baked fish.
I’ve just killed your buzz. Here you are thinking that I will arrive home with a basket of farm fresh produce on my arm to be lovingly prepared, while discussing the events of the day with my loving husband soothed by a soundtrack of jazz vocals. A long-stemmed glass of something fabulous in hand, we’ll sit down to a candlelit evening at the dining room table, cloth napkins draped over our laps.
For real?! I’ve got a full time job, I’m beat and I want cheap Chinese and glass of whatever I know I won’t really taste after the second glass anyway. Which is when I think about compound butter.
Rolled in my fridge is a pound of farm-fresh, Amish butter (yes, from Dan at Agora). The other night I softened it and folded in fresh cilantro, lime zest, cumin and scallions. In under 30 minutes this evening I can sear a salmon filet, dress a salad and steam those green beans. A thin slice of the cilantro-lime butter will melt over the cooked fish. I’ll toss another with the beans. Suddenly I face the prospect of a richly sauced, yet light, healthy dinner on the table.
Plus, it’s cheaper than eating out, so we can treat ourselves to a good bottle. Something bubbly.
Cilantro Lime Compound Butter
Slices of the compound butter can be spread on fresh corn-on-the -cob, grilled meats or hearty fish like tuna or salmon. Try tossing a tablespoon with steamed green beans or zucchini.
- 1/2 pound softened butter
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder or Spanish paprika
- 1 tsp finely grated lime zest
- 1/4 tsp white balsamic vinegar*
- 2 scallions, whites plus 1 inch greens, finely minced
- 3 tbs finely chopped cilantro
*Or Champagne vinegar. I bought mine at Sapore.
- Soften the butter at room temperature and stir it briefly in a medium bowl until creamy.
- With a rubber spatula, fold in the dry spices and lime zest.
- Fold in the vinegar a few drops at a time.
- Fold in the scallions and cilantro.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Using a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap, roll the butter into a log and refrigerate until firm.