The Simple Premade Trick All French Chefs Use to Make Every Dish Feel Fancy

Whether it’s Lou Doillon’s perfectly messy bedhead or their mythical baguette diets, the French seem to do everything better—even something as seemingly banal as butter. The butter from France ranks supreme in flavor and texture; after all, it’s made with borderline obsessive care and from the highest-grade milk and cream. Good butter is transcendent on its own (slathered atop bread, of course). But the wildly imaginative beurre composé or compound butter, a French invention, offers a welcomed departure from the norm.

Creamed with herbs, spices, and whatever the heart desires, a compound butter blend is made in advance and chilled until ready to use. It can be a quick and easy way to amp up any dish. Give roasted veggies a nudge in the flavor department and an extra-buttery sheen with a little pat of garlic- and herb-infused compound butter. Melt a maple-cinnamon butter on top of a warm stack of blueberry pancakes, or just eat your flavored butter with some warm baguette. Treat your butter like a canvas for creative culinary inspirations and you’ll realize what the French have known all along: Everything does get better with butter.

Here are four versatile compound butters that you can use to gussy up almost any dish. 

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