Butter is great by itself, but compound butter will make any recipe go nuclear. Blend finely chopped shallots, herbs and spices, garlic, parsley, and ground crawfish tails with softened butter and you have created a very special compound butter, Crawfish Butter. Add this Crawfish Butter to almost any recipe and you have entered a new realm.
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What is Compound Butter?
Compound butter is simply butter with additional ingredients added. These ingredients are usually (but not always) savory, making compound butter a special flavor enhancer for other recipes. Most compound butter can be used by itself as a sauce (melted over steaks or other meats) or can be a key ingredient for other recipes like Chicken Keiv or more complex sauces.
Here’s What You Need
Here are some of the key ingredients for this recipe:
Note on the Crawfish Tails: Use only Louisiana crawfish. Do not rinse the crawfish, but allow them to drain in a strainer or colander for about 30 minutes after defrosting. Use as much of the crawfish “fat” as possible. See the Hints and Tips (FAQs) below for more about the “fat”.
Note on the butter: I usually use salted butter, but unsalted butter works well. If using unsalted butter, add a pinch of kosher salt while mixing the ingredients. Choose a butter that is high in milk fats, if possible.
Note on additional ingredients: Check out the Hints and Tips (FAQs) section below for some ideas on additional ingredients.
Here is some of the equipment I used in making this recipe:
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Here’s What You Do
First…you have a beer. You have to start somewhere. If you want to make this recipe without all the angst and stress, the first step is to get yourself in the right frame of mind. Pop the cap off a beer and read the recipe all the way through before you do anything else. Make sure you know what you need and that you have all the ingredients and equipment to make this recipe. Then perform your mise en place by preparing each ingredient before you start. If you make this a habit, you will become a better cook.
Mise en place
- Set the butter out to soften about 1 hour before you are ready to start.
- Finely chop the shallots, garlic, and parsley.
- Measure the Herb and Spice Blend.
- If using frozen crawfish tails, place them in a colander or strainer after defrosting so that any excess water drains out.
- Do not rinse the tails.
- Optionally, sprinkle Creole seasoning on the crawfish tails, then chop them finely in a small food processor.
Pro Tip: Don’t turn the crawfish tails into mush in the food processor. We want the tails ground, but not mushy. If you don't have a small food processor or chopper, just chop them finely with a knife.
Pro Tip: This recipe works better with soft butter, do not melt the butter before using.
Combine all ingredients
What happens in this step? All the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together to form a cohesive paste.
Place the softened butter in a bowl. To that, add the ground crawfish tails, shallots, and garlic. Mix into a smooth paste. Add the Herb and Spice Blend and mix all ingredients thoroughly.
Pro Tip: Do a thorough job of mixing all the ingredients so that they are evenly distributed throughout the butter. Try to avoid having concentrations or lumps of ingredients.
Form the mixture into a “stick”
What happens in this step? Here we transform the paste into a "stick" of butter.
Place the mixed crawfish butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap.
Using your hands, form the butter into a “stick” or a log, similar to a stick of butter. Tightly wrap the log in the plastic wrap and twist each end to make it tight.
Place the wrapped crawfish butter stick in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or until needed.
Pro Tip: The butter mixture will be pretty sticky. Try wetting your fingers with cold water. You can also set the unformed butter on the plastic wrap in the fridge for about 10 to 15 minutes. It will firm slightly which may make it easier for you to form.
Hints and Tips (FAQs)
Crawfish butter can be stored in the fridge for 3 to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 6 months. Make sure the crawfish butter is wrapped airtight in plastic wrap, then placed in a freezer bag or other airtight container. Just slice off what you need and return the remaining crawfish butter to the fridge or freezer.
Absolutely. Leftover crawfish boil tails are perfect for this recipe, as are frozen tails. Keep in mind that the leftover tails will bring the flavor profile of the boil to your recipe. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
It’s the flavor for sure. Although there are traces of fat in the yellow orangish mustardy-looking stuff that comes out of the crawfish head, it is actually an organ called the hepatopancreas. Prized for its flavor, it functions much like the liver and pancreas in other animals by producing digestive enzymes and helping to absorb digested foods.
I usually use salted butter, but unsalted is good too. Just add a pinch of salt while mixing the ingredients together. Don’t use more than a pinch because this Crawfish Butter is going to be an ingredient in another recipe and you don’t want this Crawfish Butter to oversalt that final recipe. Choose a butter with high butterfat if possible. Stay away from margarine. The flavor will not be the same and margarine is highly processed and mostly does not contain milk fats. If we’re going to all this trouble, let's make this the best we can.
Definitely, fresh herbs are great, but not as concentrated as dry. Use about 3 times the amount of fresh herbs as you would dry. For this recipe that would be 1 ½ teaspoons of fresh thyme.
Compound butter is very flexible. You can tweak the flavor profile of compound butter to match and enhance your final recipe by adding various ingredients. Try a small quantity of Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, lemon zest, and other fresh or dry herbs like tarragon, oregano, basil, rosemary, savory, marjoram, cayenne pepper, white wine, etc, etc.
Use wax paper or parchment paper if you don't have or prefer not to use plastic wrap. You can also use a glass container to store your Crawfish Butter.
Here are some other great Crawfish Recipes from Sweet Daddy D.
Add some extra garlic to make the best Garlic Bread you've ever had. Top with chopped parsley and Le Bon Papa Creole Seasoning!
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Here's What You Need
- ¼ cup Louisiana Crawfish Tails ground
- ½ cup butter
- 1 teaspoon shallots finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Parsley finely chopped
Herb and Spice Blend
- ½ teaspoon dry thyme
- ¼ teaspoon White pepper
- ½ teaspoon Creole seasoning
Here's What You Do
- Set the butter out to soften about 1 hour before using.
- Sprinkle Creole seasonings on the crawfish tails. (Optional). Place the crawfish tails in a small food processor and grind until fine.
- Chop and measure the remaining ingredients.
- Place the softened butter in a bowl. Add the crawfish tails, shallots, and garlic. Mix thoroughly into a smooth paste.
- Next, add the Herb and Spice Blend and the parsley. Mix to evenly distribute all the ingredients throughout the butter.
- Place the mixed butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap (see Notes) and form into a log.
- Tightly wrap the butter log and twist the ends of the plastic wrap.
- Place the butter log into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or until needed.