Tarragon-Shallot Compound Butter

Tarragon-Shallot Compound Butter

Tarragon-Shallot Compound Butter

Yesterday, we had some impromptu guests come over for an easy casual dinner. LOVE SUMMER! My husband wanted to do his regular easy grilling favorite, beer can chicken, so to accompany that I made our favorite black bean, corn, and avocado salad in a lime-garlic vinaigrette. My guests brought a very-currently-trendy watermelon dish, a watermelon-feta-tomato salad, and we also had a Caesar kale salad. But a couple of the guests don’t eat chicken, so they brought some salmon to throw on the grill. What easy way to oomph it up a bit without too much extra work? Compound buttah, baby!

Compound butters are a versatile flavor-booster to any dish, particularly meats and seafoods, on grilled dishes, but also added to any simple vegetable side dish. Last night we had a slice or two of the butter on that simple grilled salmon.  I had whipped it up (literally) recently because I had some very good quality butter that I wanted to use up before it lost its freshness. And I had a half bunch of tarragon left that was starting to look sad and wimpy on my kitchen window sill now that it’s July in Texas!

Though the salmon got a little overcooked on the grill, all the guests loved the flavor that the butter lent to an undressed piece of protein that otherwise would have been mundane with the meal. I cannot wait to try the rest of my butter with some scallops!

Tarragon-Shallot Compound Butter

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 1 cup compound butter

Make this butter up to 3 days in advance of serving it, or make it well in advance and freeze the log of butter. When you are ready to use it, thaw it out in the refrigerator over night. Another option is to freeze the individual slices of butter if you wish.

I haven’t specified in the recipe to use unsalted or salted butter to start. Most chefs and cooks generally use unsalted butter for cooking. I keep both on hand: unsalted for baking and cooking, and salted for spreading on breakfast bread. It doesn’t matter what you use here, but adjust for salt as needed. A compound butter should taste salty and flavorful by itself because you use it sparingly on your final dish.


  • 1 cup good quality butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste


  1. 1) Take about one tablespoon of the softened butter and heat it in a small skillet over medium heat until foamy.
  2. 2) Saute the shallot for a few minutes to release the flavor. Do not brown the shallots.
  3. 3) Turn off heat and cool down to room temperature, about 15 minutes is okay.
  4. 4) Meanwhile, whip up the softened butter in a small mixing bowl. It should be easy to stir with a spoon and thick enough to later mold into a log-shaped form.
  5. 5) Stir in the tarragon and salt.
  6. 6) Stir in the cooled shallot.
  7. 7) Blend well and taste for salt.
  8. 8) Scoop the butter into a ball or disc onto a large enough size of plastic wrap.
  9. 9) Bring the bottom edge of the wrap over to completely enclose the butter and just wrap the rest around the butter however it fits. The most important thing is that it is fully enclosed in wrap so it stays fresh.
  10. 10) Roll or mold the disc of butter, now that it is in its wrap, to whatever shape you like. I like a log-shape so I can cut slices later when the butter hardens.
  11. 11) Place the log which is wrapped in plastic wrap in a Ziploc baggie and refrigerate until ready to use!


© Shefaly Ravula/ Shef’s Kitchen www.shefskitchen.com


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