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Michael Smith’s tomato curry & orange butter.

This compound butter will confound anyone who tastes it in a sandwich for the first time, and in a most welcome way. It would be hard to guess precisely what makes the sandwich so good. Choose something simple to pair with the butter, like a slice of ham or poultry, or both together.



  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons tomato sauce ( see the Notes)
  • heaped ½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest (use a microplane)
  • about ½ teaspoon curry powder




Simply blast everything together in a food processor or blender.


-Proportions are only suggestions. For a subtler butter go a little easier on the tomato, zest and curry. For something more robust, increase their amounts. You might add some shakes of hot sauce, although Smith does not.

-Goya makes the best of all canned tomato sauces. In the original formula, Smith calls for “good tomato puree.” The passata available in all British shops would do. In high season but not at any other time make your own from skinned, seeded, pulped tomatoes. Oxo makes a handy red ergonomic tomato peelers that has revolutionized the process; no need to blanch tomatoes, which anyway does not work too well for removing the skins.

-This is the first of 22 compound butters Smith includes in The Afternoon Tea Book (New York 1986) and it deserves pride of place.

-He uses it to make ‘ Queen Adelaide’s sandwiches ’ from ground chicken and ham flavored with scallion and bound with cream. His proportions: 1 cup each of the ham and the chicken, ½ cup heavy cream and a minced scallion, seasoned simply with salt and pepper. Just fold everything together, butter the bread of your choice and, as he always says, “[c]rust and cut as desired.”

-This and all of Smith’s savory compound butters also “can,” as he recommends, “be used as an accompaniment to grilled chicken, fish, and meat. “ (Smith 225)