Café de Paris Butter is a flavored steak butter with a tantalizing blend of herbs, spices and savory seasonings. Serve slices of this classic French compound butter on sizzling steaks and watch it melt into an incredible buttery sauce that drenches the meat!
Café de Paris butter – sauce for steak
Despite its name, Café de Paris butter was created in 1941 at the Café de Paris restaurant in Geneva, Switzerland. It is traditionally served as an emulsified butter sauce on a steak, and the original secret recipe is still served today in restaurants like L.’ Entrecôte Group steakhouses in France, Switzerland and elsewhere.
These days you’ll find the Café de Paris version of the sauce more commonly served as a convenient round of flavored butter, like this recipe. Either way, the bases are a delicious balance of herbs, neat spices and a secret ingredient: anchovies!
Spread that butter on your steak with thinly sliced fries and you’ve got classic steak frites worthy of a fancy French bistro in no time. Its uses don’t stop there either. It is also delicious with seafood, poultry and steamed vegetables!
Ingredients in Café de Paris butter
Café de Paris Butter is all about finding that right balance! No flavor should dominate, it should be a complex whole.
- Butter – not all butter is created equal! Most butter is like wine – the more you pay, the better the butter.
- For a truly authentic experience, find French butter (I get it from a local French grocery store called Le Petit Marché in Newport, Sydney). Whatever you use, make sure it’s salt-free, because we’ve added salty ingredients.
- Anchovies – This is the basic ingredient of a very good and authentic Parisian café butter.
It doesn’t make the fish buttery, it just blends in as a background flavor, and more importantly, it adds flavor and umami that regular salt doesn’t.
- That’s what makes this butter so good, so don’t skip it!
- Replace with 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of anchovy paste.
- Curry powder – Curry powder is one of the “secret” spices that makes Parisian cafe butter so delicious and alluring. It doesn’t overpower the butter, but it does exist and balances well with other seasonings.
The original recipe likely included vadouvan, a French curry spice that incorporates colonial roots. However, any curry powder will work here as it is a complementary flavor rather than a main one. I use Keens or Clives from India, both are sold at Woolworths, Coles and other major grocery stores in Australia.
- Paprika – Another spice that adds a nice heat to butter, both in flavor and color.
- Worcestershire Worcestershire Sauce – We double the savory flavor of fish!
This must-have pantry sauce adds a richer flavor to this butter. Truly irreplaceable!
- Lemon – just a little brighter. If you don’t have lemons, vinegar works well here as it’s a small amount (only 1 tsp).
- Dijon Mustard – Adds flavor and refreshment.
Dijon mustard is traditional (of French origin!), otherwise any smooth, non-spicy mustard would do well here.
- Eschalots – Also known as French onions, called “shalots” in the United States. They look like small onions, but the flesh is purple and thinner and sweeter. Not to be confused with what some in Australia call “shallots”, long onions
- Tarragon – An herb often used in French cuisine with a hint of anise, the key seasoning for a true Parisian café experience!
Parsley – It adds color to butter rather than flavor, so I wouldn’t say it’s absolutely necessary for all the other seasonings that are included in this butter
How to make Café de Paris butter for steak
Making Café de Paris is as simple as mixing, forming a log and chilling until firm enough to slice.
- Mix – Combine all Café de Paris ingredients in a bowl until blended. This may take some effort, as we mix water-based ingredients (Worcester sauce, lemon) with fat (butter). Mix/mix/spread as needed to make it happen!
- On cling film – Spread the butter on a piece of cling film, forming a log of about 20 cm.
- Wrapped in plastic wrap.
Wrap the ends around the plastic wrap to tighten the log. The tighter the ends, the stronger and crisper the log will be!
- Cool – Add points as needed to maintain the shape of the wood. Usually the plastic wrap will hold up well without worrying about tangles, or you can tuck the ends under the logs so the weight of the logs prevents them from coming undone. But if it comes off, just tie the ends.
Refrigerate for 3 hours until firm.
- Sliced and Ready to Eat – To use, remove from refrigerator and slice when firm and cool. Let it come to room temperature (so it melts easily on the hot steak).
- Cook the steak to your liking, then place a slice or two of butter on the hot steak to melt it into the sauce. Get ready for a lip steak dinner!
Leftovers – refrigerate for 3 days or freeze for 2 months (pre-cut for easy use).
Steak with Paris Café Butter is a classic French version of Steak Frites – Bistro Steak with Shoe Roast and a simple green salad. Minimalism.
Otherwise, while I usually recommend the classic steakhouse with buttered and herbed new potatoes and some hot vegetables, today I’m going for the bread.
Because nothing beats warm crusty bread to wipe a plate of butter, right? !