1 tablespoon granulated sugar (or vanilla sugar if you have it)

1 tablespoon water

1 cup stemmed strawberries, cut into about 1 inch square pieces (or bigger)

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

1/3 vanilla bean, sliced in half and seeds scraped out OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

fleur de sel or other coarse/crunchy salt, for the butter AND the top


Mix granulated sugar and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Swirl around until sugar is dissolved. Keep watching the sugar. When it just starts to caramelize (light brown), turn off the flame. Mix in strawberries and coat with the caramelized sugar. But back on a low flame and cook until strawberries just start to soften (3-5 minutes ). Add a squeeeze of lemon juice. Continue cooking for one more minute. Take off the flame and cool until room temperature.

Combine soft butter, powdered sugar, a pinch of salt, and vanilla bean seeds (or extract) in a mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix together really well (2 minutes high speed). Add 1/3 of the cooked strawberries and leave most of the liquid behind. Mix really well again on high speed (at this point you're coloring the butter by mashing the cooked berries). By hand, gently mix in another 1/3 of the strawberries with very little syrup (this time you're keeping the berry pieces intact). If you like lots of strawbery chunks in your butter you can add the final 1/3 of strawberries (again leaving the liquid behind) or save them for another use. Scrape strawberry butter into a ramekin. Before serving, sprinkle the top with another pinch fleur de sel to add some extra crunch. The butter tastes best served right away. But you can refrigerate it up to 5 days. And it freezes really well and stays a beautiful vibrant color.