Add a rich new element to your Summer Grilling
Last weekend in honor of 30 years of friendship, a group of us got together for our first Grill of the season. And like way back then, we all cooked something bringing it with us to our reunion. The meal centered around Steak cooked to perfection over charcoal. I brought along something that takes anything cooked on a grill to a new level. It’s composed butter! In French, it’s called ‘beurre composé’: Butter that’s been softened and then whipped together with herbs, spices, or aromatics. The butter is then re-formed in plastic wrap or parchment paper, and chilled until it’s firm enough to slice. Voilà! Your beurre composé melts on top of meats and vegetables adding a whole new level of flavor to whatever you grill. There are endless variations. Here’s the one we used last weekend: https://chewingthefat.us.com/2022/05/melissa-clarks-grilled-flank-steak-with-worcestershire-butter.html Here are three more.
Composed Butter with Montreal Steak Seasoning
There’s a delicatessen in Montreal which is pretty well a mandatory stop on any food tour of the city. Despite its humble appearance, Schwartz’s on Boulevard St. Laurent is a noisy, perpetually packed purveyor of Montreal’s signature smoked meat. To make the smoked meat, pickling spice is rubbed all over beef brisket. The pickling spice has its origins in Eastern European Jewish cooking. A cook at Schwartz’s, Morris “The Shadow” Sherman, began adding the spice rub to his own rib and liver steaks. Customers tasting these cuts soon started asking for the stuff themselves. It became so popular, that it’s the norm at Montreal’s steakhouses and delis. If you can’t find Montreal Steak Seasoning in your supermarket, I’ve included the recipe for it along with how to make the butter. And because Montreal is so Francaise, let’s call this one Beurre Compose
Recipe for Beurre Composé with Montreal Steak Seasoning
A fantastic topping for any cut of steak, it's also add great flavor to grilled vegetables, pork or lamb chops
- To make Montreal Steak Seasoning:
- 2 teaspoons California garlic powder (don’t ask me why California…probably any garlic powder, but NOT garlic salt, will do)
- 4 teaspoons coarsely ground coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- 4 teaspoons dill weed
- 4 teaspoons paprika
- 4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (or cayenne pepper)
- 4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper (coarse)
- You can store the spice mix for months in a sealed container.
- For the Beurre Compose:
- 2 sticks of unsalted Butter
- 3 tbsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning (or to taste)
- Parchment Paper or Plastic Wrap
- Step 1 To Make Beurre Compose with Montreal Steak Seasoning:
- Step 2 Let the butter sit on the kitchen counter for two hours. Using a fork, incorporate the Montreal Steak Seasoning into the softened butter. Add 1 tbsp at a time tasting until you are satisfied with the taste.
- Step 3 Take the softened butter and put it on a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Roll it into a log.
- Step 4 Put the rolled butter into the refrigerator for at least two hours. When it has solidified, remove the parchment paper or plastic wrap and put the roll on a plate. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Step 5 Slice the Beurre Compose into 1/4 inch disks. Put the disks atop whatever meat or vegetables you choose.
- Step 6 Beurre Compose can be kept in the refrigerator for 2 – 3 weeks.
Hugue Dufour’s Recipe for Minute Steak Stacks with Herbed Anchovy Butter
Another Montrealer took New York by storm. Hugue Dufour is, how you say, unconventional. He is an alumnus of Montreal’s quirky and fantastic “Au Pied du Cochon” a palace of over-the-top cooking you can read about here: https://chewingthefat.us.com/2011/10/our-trip-to-beautiful-montreal-and.html. Chef Dufour and his wife, Sarah Obraitis arrived in New York opening a diner in a location so off the beaten track, that no one could believe it. But their Quebecois cuisine attracted people to the Queens neighborhood previously passed through on our way to the airports. They followed by opening a steakhouse, M. Wells, in a converted auto body shop. There Chef Dufour created his homage to the minute steak — a whole stack of them. Quickly cooked, they are piled up with pats of anchovy herb butter between each layer. Averse to anchovies? Think of them as salt in the butter and try it on any cut of steak or lamb chops or grilled fish.
Hugue Dufour’s Recipe for Minute Steak Stacks with Herbed Anchovy Butter
A great topping for steak, the anchovies are the salty component in the butter but hardly dominate its flavor.
- For the Anchovy butter:
- 2 tablespoons chopped anchovy fillets in oil, drained
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup equal parts chopped parsley, tarragon and chives
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
- For the minute steaks:
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 12 to 16 ounces top round—sliced crosswise into 4 slices, each slice pounded to a 1/4-inch thickness
- Montreal steak spice, for seasoning
- Step 1 In a skillet, combine the anchovies, shallot and vinegar. Cook over moderate heat, stirring until the anchovies break down and the vinegar has evaporated about 5 minutes. Mash the anchovies with a wooden spoon. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and let cool to room temperature. Add the butter, herbs, and pepper and mix well. Scrape the butter onto a sheet of parchment paper and roll it into a log or pack it into an airtight container.
- Step 2 In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the canola oil until smoking. Season the steaks on both sides with the Montreal steak spice. Working in 2 batches, sear the steaks over high heat for 30 to 40 seconds per side until well browned outside but rare. Transfer the steaks to a rack set over a baking sheet. On a serving plate, stack the steak slices with a big pat of anchovy butter between each slice. Top with a big pat of butter and serve immediately, dividing the stack at the table.
- Step 3 Make ahead: The anchovy butter can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.
Rachel Allen’s Marjoram Butter for Lamb Chops
Lamb Chops are great on the grill and a staple in our house all ‘year-round. But I have to say, they can be awfully dull and there’s only so much Worcestershire Sauce can do. So I was pleased to come across Rachel Allen’s recipe using Marjoram Butter to pick them up. Rachel Allen is the daughter-in-law of Ireland’s most famous cook, Darina Allen. She attended her mother-in-law’s renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School at age 18 and after a stint in Vancouver, Canada, she returned there to teach. Marjoram is not as ubiquitous as many other herbs so if you cannot find it readily, you can be forgiven for substituting oregano, thyme, sage, or even basil. All of these will give the lamb an incredible kick of flavor and this butter is excellent on grilled fish as well. Here is the recipe:
Rachel Allen’s Lamb Chops with Marjoram Butter
An absolutely sensational way to enliven the flavor of lamb or any other chop.
- For the butter
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 scant tablespoon minced marjoram
- 1 medium garlic clove, finely grated
- 3/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- For the lamb: Twelve 4- to 6-ounce lamb rib chops
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
- Step 1 In a small bowl, mix 6 tablespoons of the butter with the marjoram, garlic, and lemon juice. Season the butter with salt and pepper. Wrap the butter in a sheet of plastic wrap and shape it into a log. Twist the ends to seal and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
- Step 2 Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the lamb chops with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning once or twice until nicely charred outside and medium-rare within, 6 minutes total. Transfer the chops to a platter and immediately top each one with a slice of marjoram butter.