This time of the year I find myself with an over abundance of fresh herbs. I’ve been filling our house and The Hippie Chick-Inn with them. Drying them, freezing them and tossing them into everything I cook or bake. Today I decided to pull out the old food processor and make up some Herb Butter also called Compound Butter. They are really easy to do and they add such a great flavor to just about anything you cook. I use Herb Butter on everything! Vegetables, fish, meat, bread, eggs. They just all taste better with homemade herb butter!
All you will need is about 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, whatever you want to use, finely grated lemon rind (optional) and 1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature. Throw it all into your food processor and give it a spin. Or you can forget the machinery and just mash it together with a fork. It’s that simple.
Today I made a Lemon Basil Butter, a Rosemary Parsley Butter, Lemon Dill Butter and a Garlic Chive Butter. Nothing tastes better then the savory flavor of herb butter over a bowl of steamed vegetables or mashed into some potatoes, or on top of a baked potato. You can slather it on Italian bread, or French bread and toss into a hot oven like you would if you were making garlic bread. Put a chunk on top of grilled meat or fish, toss into pasta in place of a heavy sauce. The fresh herbs really pack the butter with such a remarkable flavor that you actually use less, which means less fat and calories. The possibilities are endless!!
To prepare the herb butters you want to start with unsalted butter at room temperature. Blend it together with your herbs using your processor, scraping down the sides, until it is nice and fluffy. The longer you mix it the smoother it will get so use your own judgement here. I like my butters to actually show the pieces of the herbs I use so I just give it a quick spin.
Once everything is all mixed up the way you like it you can shape it into a log, roll it in fresh chopped herbs or leave it as is. Wrap it in wax paper, plastic wrap or even aluminum foil. You can put it into a butter mold if you have one (I do not have one. Don’t even get me started on That Again!) or pack it into a small crock or bowl. Herb butters will last in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or in the freezer 3 months. They are best when you make them up ahead of time so the flavors blend and everything gets to know each other! To serve the butters you can use a a vegetable peeler and make long sheets or curls . You can use a melon baller to make pretty little butter balls! Or you can use the back of a fork to put decorative lines into it like you would if you were making peanut butter cookies. Why not cut it into shapes using some of your favorite cookie cutters and arrange on a plate with a garnish of more fresh herbs. Get creative here! Because sometimes it is the little things that really are the big things!!