Kitchen secrets: Café de Paris butter


Our Head Chef’s flavoured butter is ideal on barbecued steaks. Photograph: Jason Lowe

Whatever’s on the menu, make sure you have our Head Chef’s secret weapon on hand: Café de Paris butter. Stock the fridge with a stick of this and get set to slather it on anything that comes sizzling from the grill

Years ago, on a trip to Toulouse, I came across a restaurant called L’Entrecôte which served just one dish: steak frites. Judging by the queues outside each day, this simple concept certainly worked. I had to see what the fuss was all about. What I experienced was fast food, French style: a simple mixed leaf and walnut salad to start, and then steak served with a “secret recipe” butter sauce and the sort of fries that are as much a signature of French cooking as frogs’ legs.

This recipe is my version of that sensational butter – it works well with just about any grilled meat or fish. It’s also great on vegetables, new potatoes or as a way to liven up anything on the barbecue. The ingredient list may be long, but the results are worth it.

Café de Paris butter

  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 10g capers – finely chopped
  • 1 shallot – peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove – peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley – chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme leaves – chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh tarragon leaves – chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 250g softened butter

Mix all of the ingredients except the butter in a bowl, leave for a couple of hours and then blitz in a food processor. Add the butter and mix it together.

Wrap the butter in cling film to form a 2cm-diameter “sausage” of butter. Refrigerate until set, then slice and place on top of grilled meat (or whatever happens to be on the menu) and grill until it just starts to melt.

What to drink: Inspired by the south of France, it’s only natural to choose a local partner if this is being served on seared red meats. This remarkable old-vine red from the terraces around Larzac would work well (as would most other Languedoc reds), as would a Rhône red, or something plusher from the New World – like Dean Hewitson’s Mourvèdre or Mullineux’s Syrah . If the butter is going on lighter fare, like chicken or veg, go for something lighter and brighter with crunchy fruit: try a Cinsault, a bright Beaujolais or New Zealand Pinot Noir.

Get set to stay home with our range of wines from the South of France on, bringing a taste of the region to your table