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What Exactly Is Cafe De Paris Butter?

Cafe de Paris butter on steak
Cafe de Paris butter on steak - Evgeny Starkin/Shutterstock

You can do a lot with compound butter. A simple combination of butter creamed with herbs and/or spices, then chilled so it can be stored in the fridge until you melt it back onto hot ingredients, compound butter is a perfect accompaniment to steak and other savory dishes. The best thing about it is how versatile it is; there's not one recipe, and it's such a basic idea that you can insert whatever ingredients you want to get your desired flavors. But while there's no universal flavor, there are some classic ones -- and one of the best is based on a classic French sauce called Café de Paris.

Named after the restaurant in Geneva, Switzerland where it was popularized, Café de Paris butter is a rich mix of French flavors that instantly amps up any steak. Because it descends directly from a sauce of the same name, it's also unusual for compound butter in that it's not simple; we're not talking just an herb or two as an addition here. As such, it's a little trickier to make at home than, say, Old Bay butter -- but the end results are worth it.

Read more: The 13 Best Steaks For Grilling

It Has A Lot Of Ingredients

Cafe de Paris sauce on steak
Cafe de Paris sauce on steak - Alp Aksoy/Shutterstock

To be fair, the journey from Café de Paris sauce to Café de Paris butter is an extremely short one, because it's a butter-based sauce anyway. In fact, the two condiments are so similar that the names are often used interchangeably. Whatever you call it, Café de Paris is a decadent, luscious accompaniment for steak.

But it's not a simple one (at least, not relative to most compound butters). Café de Paris starts with butter, parsley, and tarragon, and it keeps going from there -- which direction is kind of a dealer's choice situation. There are tons of different recipes for this stuff, since nobody has ever quite been able to duplicate the original recipe. Different recipes involve ingredients like paprika, curry powder, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, dill, chives, rosemary, garlic, and marjoram. But it's the addition of two other savory ingredients that really boost the sauce to new levels: shallots and anchovies. Whichever combination of ingredients you use, though, Café de Paris butter has an extraordinarily rich, savory quality that pairs perfectly with steak.

It Originally Came From Switzerland

Cafe de Paris on steak
Cafe de Paris on steak - JCL Garcia/Shutterstock

Funny enough, the origins of Café de Paris butter and sauce aren't in France at all -- they're actually from Switzerland. Much like how raclette has a French name but is actually Swiss, Cafe de Paris originated in Switzerland. In the 1930s, restaurateur Arthur-Francois Dumont of the Café de Paris in Geneva got the recipe from his father-in-law and put it on his menu. It proved so popular that Dumont converted his restaurant to serve only one dish: beef topped with his signature butter. The thing is, we're not 100% certain what that signature butter consists of; to this day, the recipe is a closely-guarded secret (this is why there are so many different recipes online).

But even if the version you can make at home isn't necessarily 100% authentic (at least by haute cuisine standards), it's still worth trying out. Next time you make steak and really want to amp up your flavors, give it a try.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.