There are a few simple tips that can help to ensure a batch of maitre d’hotel butter — butter with flavors added — comes out as desired, without any unforeseen problems. Before beginning, it is important to allow the butter to come to room temperature on its own, because heating or microwaving the butter can change the taste and texture once it is returned to a refrigerator. The parsley used in the butter, along with any other ingredients, should be very fresh and very dry before being incorporated. The material in which the final butter is wrapped should be oil resistant and thick enough to protect the butter from flavors that could be picked up in a refrigerator. Maitre d’hotel butter can be made from worked or whipped butter, and it is important to know the difference between the two.
If the butter is coming out of the freezer or refrigerator, it needs to be allowed to soften naturally. Adding heat inevitably will melt just the surface of the butter without affecting the inside, and the butter that melts will not re-solidify with the same taste and texture as it previously had. Frozen butter that might need to sit out for some time can have its freshness preserved by covering it with a deep lid along with a small bowl of water inside the lid to keep the moisture level up.
Room temperature butter can either be worked with a spoon or whipped with a mixer to make maitre d’hotel butter. Both of these methods incorporate the ingredients into the butter, but the air that is introduced into the whipped butter will slowly leave the mixture and accelerate the degradation of taste, meaning the whipped butter needs to be used very soon after being made. Worked butter, on the other hand, needs to sit for at least an hour after having the ingredients added so the flavors can come together.
The ingredients in maitre d’hotel butter should be fresh. The lemon juice should be squeezed very close to the time it is added to the butter to prevent it from oxidizing and losing some flavor. The parsley should be fresh, washed and dried. When cutting the parsley, the dice should be very fine with no stems so any single slice of the butter will contain roughly the same amount of parsley as any other and look identical. Subtle flavors can be added to maitre d’hotel butter through the parsley by soaking it in ingredients such as onions, garlic or ginger before it is added.