The glory of herb butters

Herb butters are just that — butter with herbs (and other tasty stuff) added. Simple enough and surprisingly easy to make, but the taste is hard to beat. 

Herb butters are just that — butter with herbs (and other tasty stuff) added. Simple enough and surprisingly easy to make, but the taste is hard to beat. 

In previous articles, I’ve discussed the culinary value of fresh herbs. Add butter, and the results are nothing short of magical. The intense flavor, color and aroma of fresh herbs combined with the creamy richness of butter does wonders to almost any savory dish. A small dab on bread, pasta, vegetables, grilled meats or poultry transforms everyday dishes into elegant meals.

To make your own, add chopped herbs, salt and spices to softened butter and mix well. Lime or lemon juice is often added. Depending on the use, you may like to mix in a little extra-virgin olive oil. Nearly any herb or combination of herbs can be used, and experimentation is necessary to find your perfect blend. After mixing, the herb butter may be placed in a serving bowl. 

If not using immediately, I like to scoop the butter onto parchment paper, roll into a log and twist the ends shut. After a couple of hours in the fridge, the butter will firm up again and can be easily sliced into coins. Herb butter retains quality for a week or so in the fridge, or up to 12 months in the freezer. It works well to make a big batch to portion out for freezing. 

Disclaimer: Although there are fresh green things in there, it is still butter and loaded with calories, so don’t go overboard. A little goes a long way. See page 48 for a recipe.