Here at TFD, we strive to educate our Citizens about the great recipes – not only from all over the world, but lost in time as well.
The great French chefs of yore, the Giants of the 18th and 19th centuries such as Carême and Escoffier, prepared sauces and dishes of exquisite complexity and difficulty. These were also supremely delicious and form the backbone of the deserved reputation for French cuisine as the gold standard.
There is, however, a reason most of these recipes fell out of use – they are both complex and time-consuming. That said, I have an arsenal of hundreds of these recipes that I am itching to share with you.
This recipe is one of them.
Café de Paris butter is the most complex of all the so-called “compound” butters – butter with other items mixed in. This is the ultimate butter for putting on a grilled steak (its original function) but it is also delicious spread on an English Muffin or melted over vegetables.
Is this recipe complex? Yes and no. It does use a lot of ingredients, but making it is actually not difficult.
My version of this recipe is – by far – the most ingredient-laden of any recipe I’ve ever found. I don’t remember where I actually found it, but it is one of my most treasured recipes. I hope it will be one of yours as well. 🙂
Battle on – The Generalissimo
1kg (2.2 pounds) soft unsalted butter
60g (7.5 tablespoons) tomato ketchup
25g (1/8 cup) Dijon mustard
25g capers [in brine] (1/8 cup), rinsed and coarsely chopped
125g (5/8 cup) French shallots, finely diced
50g (1/4 cup) curly leaf parsley, finely chopped
50g (1/4 cup) chives, finely chopped
5g (1/4 ounce) each of dried marjoram and dill
5g (1/4 ounce) thyme leaves, lightly chopped
10 French tarragon leaves, lightly chopped
Pinch of ground dried rosemary
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
8 anchovy fillets, rinsed and finely chopped
1 tbs each of brandy and Madeira
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp curry powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
8 white peppercorns, finely ground
Juice of 1 lemon
Finely grated rind of ½ lemon
Finely grated rind of ¼ orange
1-1½ tsp salt
1 To make the Cafe de Paris butter, beat the butter until creamy — either by hand or on low speed in an electric mixer. In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine all the remaining ingredients before adding to the butter. Mix again with a large spoon or on low speed in the mixer. (JH note – I would grind all the other ingredients besides the butter thoroughly in a blender first before adding).
2 Place a double thickness of foil 20cm in length on a workbench and place half the butter along the closest edge, leaving about 5cm free at either end. Roll into a log shape about 5cm in diameter, twisting the ends to seal. Repeat with another length of foil and the other half of the butter, then refrigerate until set.
3 Traditionally served on steak – if doing so: Carve each steak diagonally across its width into 5 or 6 slices. Lay the steaks on plates and divide the sliced Cafe de Paris butter between them.
5 Place under a very hot grill until the butter is melted and slightly coloured.
Note: this recipe makes enough for 16 servings of Cafe de Paris butter. Because it is essential that the ingredients are weighed accurately, please don’t be tempted to halve the recipe as the smaller quantities are hard to measure precisely.
Cafe de Paris butter will keep for several months in the freezer, but is best used within a few weeks; transfer the required amount of frozen butter to the fridge a couple of hours before it is needed so it will melt readily under a hot grill.