Café de Paris butter – a moreish conconction of butter, herbs and spices was, as the story goes, created in 1941 at its eponymous restaurant in Geneva to tart up sirloin: entrecôte Café de Paris is still the restaurant’s signature dish. Just like KFC, (but much classier) the original blend of herbs and spices is a secret, so every chef worth their salted butter, from Australia’s Neil Perry, to Marco Pierre White and Skye Gyngell, have had a bash at it.
Expect different combinations of herbs, including dried dill and marjoram, fresh thyme and chives or rosemary, but some of the essential ingredients that pop up in most recipes sound positively bonkers (tomato sauce and curry powder, anyone?). In pursuit of the perfect Café de Paris butter, I’ve tried a few versions – the curry powder works amazingly well; the T-sauce not so much.
My favourite combination is below – make it as herbaceous as you dare – I like to get a little heavy-handed with the thyme and chives.
- 200g butter, at room temperature (if you forgot to take it out of the fridge in advance, check out Ladyland’s Hacky Mondays for a clever trick on bringing cold butter to room temperature)
- A few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
- A few sprigs of tarragon and chives, finely chopped
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp capers, drained and finely chopped
- 4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- A splash of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- Zest of 1 lemon plus a squeeze of lemon juice
- 1 tsp curry powder
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine well.
2. Lay out a large sheet of cling wrap and spoon half of the butter mixture onto the cling wrap in a line, leaving a generous gap at both ends. Carefully roll the cling wrap to form a firm log shape from the butter. Twist the ends to seal. Repeat with another sheet of cling wrap and the remaining butter.
3. Place the butter logs in the fridge (or freezer, if you’re pressed for time) to set before cutting into slices to serve. Store the butter in the freezer and it’ll last as long as you can restrain yourself from dolloping it on absolutely everything
Note: Absolutely do not use this butter in moderation: the thicker the slices (I’m talking 1/2 centimetre-thick here) you slather your steak with, the better. Because, you know, too much of a good thing is wonderful.
Photography: Selina Altomonte