compound butter sauces

Drawn butter is simply melted butter, with all the milk solids left in, which makes it very different from clarified butter. When drawn butter is spiced up a bit, it becomes compound butter.


Compound butters (Fr. beurre composé, pl. beurres composés) are mixtures of butter and supplementary ingredients. Primarily, they are used to enhance flavor in various dishes, in a fashion similar to a sauce.

Compound butters can be made at home or purchased commercially. A compound butter can be made by whipping additional elements, such as herbs, spices or aromatic liquids, into melted butter. The butter is then reformed, usually in plastic wrap or parchment paper, and chilled until it is firm enough to be sliced. These butters can be melted on top of meats and vegetables, used as a spread or used to finish various sauces.

Warm beurres composés include:

Cold beurres composés include:


a. parsleyed garlic butter sauce

2015-12-25 a.o.

aka. beurre à la bourguignonne

Some people say not to use butter with crab, only to steam it. Others poach crabs and lobsters in butter.

This is my favorite sauce for lobster and crab. It's nothing too special, just melted butter with garlic and parsley, occasionally also chile. Of course, you have to like garlic for this. If you don’t, leave the garlic out, and enjoy it anyway.


This is what you need for 2 servings:

  • 1 stick of butter (½ cup)
  • S&P


  • 2 tbsp. parsley / cilantro
  • up to 6 garlic cloves, peeled, pressed
Pic1: snow crab in parsleyed garlic butter



Pic2: chop parsley / cilantro
Pic3: mix
Pic4: garlic



  • Melt butter over low heat.
    Do not brown.
    Do not remove the milk solids. They are what gives this sauce its flavor.
  • Stir in minced garlic and parsley. (Pic5)
    • This sauce will separate when left alone: the garlic and parsley will sink to the bottom and the butter layer on top clarifies a bit. (Pic6)
    • Whisking the melted butter into the minced/crushed garlic may improve the emulsion = butter aioli.
  • Simmer 5 minutes over low heat wile stirring.
  • Serve immediately.

Serving suggestions:

  • Keep warm with tea candle. (Pic7) The sauce will congeal when cooling too much.
  • Keep it over low heat. Prolonged heating at too high temperature will break the emulsion, burn the spices and clarify the butter.
  • Optional:
    • Allow the sauce to cool and congeal.
    • Cut into small pieces.
    • Repackage for long-term storage if desired.
    • Serve beurre à la bourguignonne
      • as a spread.
      • to melt over a warm dish.


a few dishes with parsleyed garlic butter

2016-01-22: escargots à la bourguignonne

Pic5: before cooking
Pic6: after cooking


2020-01-15: mushrooms &  escargots à la bourguignonne

Pic7: escargots in mushrooms
Pic8: add parsleyed garlic butter
Pic9: baked @ 350 ºF. for 30 minutes

2016-01-06 :  king crab with parsleyed garlic butter

Pic10: king crab with parsleyed butter sauce — 2016-01-06
Pic11: emulsified parsleyed butter sauce — 2019-05-26
Pic12: the sauce separates after a while — 2019-05-26


B. beure blanc

Beure blanc (Fr. white butter) is a bit more complicated. Some recipes leave the cream out, but those sauces often end up yellowish instead of white, like the name implies.

The process is very similar to mounted butter / beurre monté but the butter is whisked into a heavy cream base instead of pure water.


Pic13: beurre blanc
Pic14: with scallops


This is what you need for 1 cup:

  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped shallot
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • S&wP
  • 1/2 lb. unsalted butter,
    cut small, chilled


  • Simmer the shallots in a mixture of white wine and vinegar until the pot is very nearly dry.
  • Reduce heat. Stir in the heavy cream.
    Do not boil after adding the cream. The sauce will break.
  • Add the pieces of butter a few at a time, stirring rapidly with a wire whisk.
  • Add S&wP to taste for a little bite.
  • Strain to remove the exhausted shallots.
    Leave them in if you like the extra texture.
  • Serve with seafood or meat. Enjoy.