Compound butters are a magical thing. They are brain-dead easy to make, but the results have a huge range of incredible applications.
This particular butter is intended to be served at the table for bread, but it would also be a great base for cheesy garlic bread. Just add some parmesan and cheddar, schmear, broil or grill and voila! Leave out the honey and it would be excellent as a elegant finish for grilled steak or fish.
1 lb Unsalted butter, softened
1 head Garlic, whole
1 handful Italian parsley, chopped fine (about 1/3 cup)
10 sprigs Thyme, stripped from the stem and minced
1 Tbsp Honey
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp White pepper
1/4 tsp Ground cayenne
Preheat your oven to 325º.
Carefully cut off about 1/4" of the root end of the garlic head.
Make a loose foil nest that will hold the garlic cut-end-up (see the picture below).
Set the garlic in the nest and drizzle it with a little olive oil, then sprinkle with a dash of Kosher salt.
Roast on the center oven rack for one hour. Add an extra ten minutes or so if the head is overly large.
It should come out looking like this. Set it aside to cool.
When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze each clove out of the paper onto a cutting board. Remove any crusty bits from the browned ends and make sure none of the paper gets in the garlic.
Mash the garlic into a fine paste using the side of a knife. Again, check for and remove any crusty bits.
Put the butter, garlic, parsley, thyme, honey, pepper, cayenne, and one teaspoon of salt in a medium mixing bowl.
Tip: To get the thyme really fine and to release all of the flavor potential, I grind it with a mortar and pestle with a little Kosher salt added. The salt acts as an abrasive.
Stir until all of the ingredients are very well incorporated.
If the butter is really loose, put the bowl in the fridge for a while to firm up. Stir it occasionally until it's about the consistency of a milkshake.
Lay an 18" long piece of plastic wrap flat on your counter.
Note: You need to use plastic wrap that clings to itself really well. I use Stretch-Tite® from Costco, which is great stuff.
Pour all of the butter lengthwise down the center of the plastic wrap so that it forms a "row" (I don't know what else to call it). You want about four inches of margin on the long sides, and about six inches on the short sides.
I know, I should have take a picture of this step.
Gently fold the long edges of the plastic over the butter so that they overlap as much as possible. Smooth the overlapped edges to seal them, but be careful not to squeeze the butter.
Here's the fun and potentially dangerous part.
Twist each short end as if you are wrapping a candy. Once you get them started, hold each end in each hand, lift the log from the counter and twirl it in front of you (jump rope-style) until the twists meet the butter and the log is tight.
Put the log in the fridge for at least two hours to firm.
That's it! You now have some outstanding compound butter.
Thanks to our eldest daughter, Hailey, for her hand modeling and help in shooting these pictures. She did a fine, fine job. Way to go Hail!