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Umami Butter

Umami butter on bread, ready for the oven.

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Compound butter has got to be one of the most versatile and easiest-to-make condiments in the world. Just soften some butter, stir in whatever flavorings you like, and you’re good to go. With a stash of compound butter in the fridge or freezer, you have an instant sauce for just about any kind of meat, poultry, fish, or vegetable, not to mention a spread for toasted or grilled bread.

Nicky at Delicious Days got my attention with her great idea for “umami butter.” There’s no set recipe (though she does provide one for those who aren’t yet comfortable riffing with compound butter). Instead, you just raid your fridge of whatever umami (super-savory) ingredients it contains, and mix them into butter, sampling as you go until your taste buds are happy. Now, not only do you have this tasty compound butter that you can whip out on a moment’s notice, you’ve also used up all those ingredients that tend to languish in the fridge, like tomato paste and anchovies. Brilliant!


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