Published in Edible Shasta-Butte in Spring 2017.
My theme for this year’s spring is quickly becoming compound butters.
It started with salty sweet date compound butter with powdered Chico Chai, lemon zest, sea salt, and a touch of raw honey from Wofchuck Honey Company; this meets my bowl of oatmeal most mornings. On to chili-citrus compound butter to make biscuits, cook green vegetables, and scramble eggs for a lunch-time sandwich. Recently, a pat of compound butter flecked with the colors and flavors of edible flowers was found melting atop juicy pork chops on my family’s dinner table.
This time of year, flowers are blossoming everywhere: on Table Mountain, in your own backyard, and hiding in the lawns of neighbors. I enjoy the fact that a good number of these beautiful blossoms are quite edible and add an unexpected pop of flavor and color to any dish. Besides throwing these delicate plant gems into salads or garnishing finished meals, blending them into a compound butter is one of the best ways to showcase and appreciate their varying colors and flavors.
Compound butter is simply butter blended with other ingredients. This metamorphosis from sweet butter to powerful flavor ingredient happens quickly by hand with just a fork, your imagination, and fists-full of fresh flowers. A theme on which to improvise, this floral compound butter can be whatever you want it to be: a peppery, sweet, or herbaceous transformation to elegantly enhance any meal at any time.
Floral Compound Butter
8 oz Sierra Nevada Cheese Company, Unsalted Graziers Butter, room temperature
½ cup fresh edible spring flowers
Citrus zest, from 1 fruit
Unrefined sea salt, generous pinch
With a sturdy fork, mash everything except the edible flowers until thoroughly incorporated. Using a spatula, fold in the blossoms of your choosing. Plop the mixture onto a square of wax paper and press into a log, wrapping the corners up like a Tootsie Roll. Chill in the refrigerator until firm.
Recipe note: When using fresh flowers, be sure they were never sprayed and are gently washed and dried before use. Any citrus zest works well here: lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime, blood orange, tangelo…