We almost never eat red meat. Not that we don’t like it but health concerns and doctor’s orders keep it from being served very often in our house. However, once in a great while there is nothing like a terrific, juicy steak. I’ve found that the old stove top grill pan does a superb job of marking up the exterior and a finish in a very hot oven brings it right to that point of medium-rare perfection. I, personally, prefer my steak plain with a good sprinkling of salt and freshly ground pepper but having spent some time working with Delmonico’s Restaurant (visit their web site or pick up my book, Dining at Delmonico’s (with James Canora) at amazon.com) I learned how many people love that melting chunk of butter on top of their steak. If that’s what you like, here’s a couple of recipes for beurre maître d’hôtel (also known as compound butter to those of us who don’t parlez). Chefs make up a batch, roll it into a log, wrap it airtight and refrigerate or freeze it. The log is cut, crosswise, into thick pieces when ready to use.
Basic: 1 pound salted butter, at room temperature, 3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
More intensely herby: Same amount of butter but the parsley should be replaced with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, cilantro, tarragon, sage, or thyme leaves or 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Seasoned: Use the same amount of unsalted butter seasoned with salt (easy on the salt if using anchovies) and pepper to taste along with 2 teaspoons chopped flat leaf parsley and 2 teaspoons minced garlic or shallots OR 3 minced well-drained canned anchovy filets OR 1 tablespoon freshly grated horseradish OR 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger.
The mixing should be done by hand to keep the integrity of the add-ins. It can be done in a food processor, but don’t overmix or the add-ins will completely dissolve into the butter and get cloudy which you don’t want.