Compound butters are a great way to add depth of flavor to your cooking, and this tomato compound butter is one of the best I’ve had. I peel and cook down fresh summer tomatoes with a touch of sugar and garlic until they become thick, jammy and super concentrated. Then I puree that jam until smooth and mix it with fresh thyme and softened butter. By cooking down the tomatoes, I intensify the flavor so that this butter is bursting with the taste of ripe summer tomatoes.
This compound butter is one of life’s simple pleasures when it’s slathered on crusty bread and sprinkled with flaky salt, but it’s also a fantastic way to add concentrated tomato flavor to any recipes that use butter (and even those that don’t).
how can I use this tomato compound butter?
There are a ton of creative ways to use compound butter other than the obvious spread on toast. Below are some of my favorite ways to use this tomato butter!
- slathered on corn before roasting or grilling (be sure to wrap it in foil!)
- mixed into mashed root vegetables (potatoes, butternut squash, parsnips, rutabaga), polenta or grits
- tossed with hot pasta, some of the starchy cooking liquid and a ton of parmesan
- a pat melted over roast meat, fish or vegetables
- slathered onto chicken and roasted
- a tablespoon floated on top of your favorite hot soup
- stuffed into burger patties or on top of a grilled steak
- stirred into hot grains (like farro, rice or quinoa)
- melted, stirred into panko breadcrumbs and used as a crispy topping for gratins and vegetables
- spread onto bread before making a sandwich (like the best version of a BLT)
- softened, spread on a loaf of bread sliced horizontally, and baked for a twist on garlic bread
- spread onto fresh cornbread or biscuits
- and of course– spread on crusty artisan bread and sprinkled with flaky salt
what is a compound butter, anyways?
The term compound butter is very simple and very broad. All it means is butter + something mixed in. That something can be literally anything edible: spices, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, nuts, citrus zest, sugars and salts are all game! The most common type of compound butter simply uses fresh herbs, but that’s just the beginning.
Here are some ideas of quick compound butters you can whip up with no cooking required:
- garlic chive butter
- blue cheese butter
- parmesan black pepper butter
- chile lime butter
- mustard butter
- cinnamon honey butter
- chipotle maple butter
- your favorite jam butter
- vanilla bean butter
- spicy chocolate butter
You get the idea! Have fun with it. The general rule of thumb is 3-5 tablespoons of the item (herb, cheese, jam, sweetener) for 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of softened butter. With spices, start with a teaspoon first and increase to taste.
a note on the tomato butter:
- this recipe can easily be halved. Just know that the smaller volume of tomato jam can be hard to puree in the food processor, so be patient with it or try an immersion blender or regular blender instead.
tomato compound butter
Capture the flavor of ripe summer tomatoes in this rich tomato compound butter. The butter is mixed with a cooked down tomato jam, thyme and a touch of garlic. Slather it on crusty bread, sprinkle it with flaky sea salt and discover one of life’s simple pleasures.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 1 1/2 cups
- Category: Appetizer
- Cuisine: American
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes (or any ripe tomatoes)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into tablespoon pieces
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, fill a heatproof bowl with ice water and set aside. Use a paring knife to lightly score an “X” on the bottom of each tomato.
- When the water boils, generously salt it then add the tomatoes and cook for 30- 45 seconds, or until the skin just begins to curl and peel away from the “X”. Immediately transfer the tomatoes to the ice water to stop the cooking. Let them cool for a few minutes, then drain and use your fingers or a knife to peel off the skin. Discard the skin and transfer the tomatoes to a saucepan.
- Add the sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, black pepper and garlic cloves to the saucepan and use a fork or wooden spoon to smash the tomatoes and release their juice (roughly chop the tomatoes if larger than cherry size). Cook over medium heat, smooshing tomatoes against the wall of the pot to break them up as the mixture simmers. After about 10 minutes, when the liquid has thickened and cooked down, stir constantly to prevent scorching. Simmer until almost all of the liquid has cooked off and tomatoes are thick and jammy, about 20 minutes total. You should have about 1/2 cup of tomatoes. Let cool completely.
- Transfer cooled tomato jam to a food processor and blend until mostly smooth. Add butter, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and process until smooth and completely mixed, scraping down sides as needed. Taste; season with more salt and pepper if needed.
- Transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate. Alternatively, scoop onto waxed or parchment paper, shape into a log, roll tightly and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
makes about 1 1/2 cups
- The tomato butter can be used right away or chilled for a few hours until firm. Butter will keep for up to 5 days refrigerated and up to 3 months frozen.
- Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
- Calories: 73
- Sugar: 0.8g
- Sodium: 99mg
- Fat: 7.7g
- Saturated Fat: 4.8h
- Unsaturated Fat: 2.5g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 1.2g
- Fiber: 0.3g
- Protein: 0.3g
- Cholesterol: 20mg
Keywords: tomato compound butter