It’s Butter (Believe It)

Season a meal in seconds with locally produced compound butter

For such a simple concept, compound butter has gained quite the following in the trend-obsessed foodie world. Take your run-of-the-mill butter, imbue it with flavors savory or sweet, and you’ve got yourself a stick of the compound variety. Before you dismiss it out of hand, consider its versatility and ease of use. Breakfast, dinner, a veggie snack — just about any food can be enhanced with the right pat of compound. “It’s all flavor and no labor,” explains Steve Ferri, the cofounder of Kingston’s Scotch Hands Butter Company. “It takes the average person’s cooking and accelerates it into something really special in seconds.”

Ferri, a television news veteran-turned-cook, and cofounder Niels Nielsen, the head chef at Miss Lucy’s Kitchen in Saugerties, were ahead of the curve when they started Scotch Hands last year. Now their butters are available for sale in some of the hottest Manhattan markets — the New York Times and New York magazine both recommended the product in their pages this past spring. It’s also available locally at selected spots in Columbia, Dutchess, and Ulster counties. (Visit for a complete list.) A four-ounce tub of the butter sells for $5 in stores. Scotch Hands’ flavors include habañero, wasabi soy, balsamic shallot herbs, basil lemon garlic, honey-orange vanilla, pomegranate walnut, and their newest, Marsala roasted garlic tarragon.

Two of Scotch Hands’ more
grill-friendly flavorsScotch Hands Butter Company

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While the culinary traditionalist may sneer at the concept of one-stop seasoning, most shoppers on a budget or short on time will value the savings the butters can offer. “There’s less shopping, if you think about it, because you’re not buying preserves,” Ferri says. “There’s really no prep involved now — with chopping fresh herbs, for example. There’s less cleanup. There’s no saucepan anymore, no cutting board, knife, all that pain-in-the-butt stuff. It’s literally: Cook.”

Ferri says the butters can complement anything you throw on a grill this summer. “For grilled veggies, I use the balsamic shallot herbs. Grilled peaches, pineapple ­— killer with our pomegranate walnut melted right on.” To put a twist on Fabio’s favorite line, you may not believe what you’re eating is butter.


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