One Condiment = Better Seafood

Alex Van Buren
Food Features Editor
July 8, 2014

Photo credits, from left: Enrique Chavarria, StockFood; StockFood; Thinkstock. Illustration by Jennifer Fox

It’s an eye-opening moment when you realize two of your kitchen staples can be spun into one knockout condiment you’re going to use All. Summer. Long. 

Such was the case with lime butter, which is simple as it sounds: lime juice, lime zest, softened butter, garlic (if you’ve got it), salt, and pepper. This Gourmet recipe was our introduction to the stuff; we plopped a pat of it onto seared salmon, sat on a rooftop, and tucked into our dinner with a fat glass of rosé alongside. 

And dang if that wasn’t a wonderful thing. 

Then we realized the extent of lime butter’s flexibility: It’s magical on corn on the cob. It’s fantastic on swordfish. One can even dollop tiny bits of it—so as not to overshadow the bodacious bivalve itself—onto oysters, hot off the grill. It is to seafood as a rosemary-spiked compound butter is to steak: inimitable and outstanding. And as it melts, it creates an unctuous sauce with a salty, piquant, tart note. 

As is true of the best summer cooking, it’s also flexible: Feel free to make it more limey or buttery, depending on your preference. 

Lime Butter Sauce
Adapted from Gourmet 
Makes about 3/4 cup

1 large garlic clove, minced (optional)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 stick (1/2 cup) room-temperature butter, unsalted

Combine garlic (if using), lime juice and zest, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, stirring to incorporate. Using a standing mixer or immersion blender, add melted butter and blend until emulsified, about 30 seconds. (If not using garlic, just use a bowl and a spoon.)

Sauce can be made 2 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature, and stir before using.