Soon, I'll be serving garlic bread, but I would like to add something to the garlic-butter, to make it darker (gray or black). It should look like lead.

So far, I've found two ideas: - add dark olives - add caviar

I don't like the idea of the olives because it'll be served with scallops in cheese sauce and some mushrooms. I don't think the taste of olives will fit well. The idea of adding caviar is better, but expensive, or other black fish eggs are not easily available here.

6 Answers 6


If you just want to change the color - just some black food coloring should be fine.

If you can't find it in a store locally, you can always see if a bakery that does cakes will give you just a tiny bit or if they'll blend a few colors to make a dark gray.


Squid ink is used to make black pasta, no reason it wouldn't work with butter. Good fishmongers should be able to source it for you.

  • +1 I knew there was something like that for black pasta and I just couldn't remember what it was.
    – rfusca
    Dec 6, 2011 at 18:32
  • Squid ink is also used to make a Spanish dish called "arroz negro" which is black rice. Dec 6, 2011 at 19:42
  • also, you might find the squid ink referenced as "nero di sepia", at least in italian packages of pasta. Dec 7, 2011 at 17:27

Ground up black sesame seeds. The flavor is relatively mild, and I think it would add a nice subtle nuttiness that should accentuate your other flavors.


If you can procure it (or make it yourself), why not just use black garlic?

Black garlic Licensing information for this image is available here.

  • Well, I like the idea and I would try it, but I have to wait 40 days, while I'll need that butter on NYE (so in 20 days).
    – Mien
    Dec 8, 2011 at 9:09
  • Nigella seeds (love-in-a-mist seeds) may help.
  • Although you don't want to use black olive, mixing it with some oregano or some other spices may balance the taste.

You can also change the color by adding dark mushroom gills. Portabella mushroom gills might give the butter a nice dark color without adding another flavor. (Many recipes recommend scooping out the gills of portabella mushrooms to avoid darkening the food.)

  • I wouldn't do that. I don't remove the gills, and my food gets the appearance of concrete, not lead. It is too light and slightly brown in color.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 7, 2011 at 23:40

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