Herb butter are simple to make and add great flavor to virtually any cooked meat. They can also be added to pastas, eggs, and even spread on toast for a unique and delightful flavor treat. Herb butter are usually made with few ingredients, just enough to bind the herbs and bring out their natural aroma.
To make herb butters, the butter must be at room temperature, never melted. The butters can be stored in the refrigerator, but should be brought to room temperature before using. You can use both salted and unsalted butter. Wash and dry your herbs before use, and eliminate as much stem as possible. I will give the proportions that I use, but these may be varied to suite your taste. You can also experiment by adding spices to your butters.
Here are the recipes for six of the most popular herb butters.
This is especially good on both grilled meats and fish.
In a food processor, pulse 1/4 pound of watercress, until finely chopped. Add 1/4 pound of softened butter and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Beat until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste. Use immediately or chill until wanted. This butter, and all other butters, can be rolled and sliced for a more elegant presentation.
This is especially good on fish or pasta. Parsley can easily be finely chopped, but pulse it if you wish.
Finely chop or pulse 2 tablespoons parley. Mash this together with 1/4 cup of softened butter, and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Add Salt and pepper to taste.
This is another form of parsley butter that is traditionally served with snails, but is also good with chicken, and of course, fish. It should be made several days before needed so that the flavors can properly blend.
Finely chop or pulse 1/4 cup parsley. Mash this with 1/4 cup butter, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 4 large cloves of very finely chopped or mashed garlic. Salt and pepper to taste.
Tarragon butter is delicious with any type of fish as well as on roasted vegetables and pasta.
Chop 4 tablespoons of tarragon as fine as possible. Mash it together with 1/4 cup of butter and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste.
This flavorful butter is simple to make and tastes great on chicken, and pasta. It is also good with roasted vegetables and corn on the cob.
Mash two tablespoons or fresh oregano with 1/4 cup of butter. Salt and pepper to taste. If you like the flavor of garlic, try adding three or four mashed cloves, just before salting.
This is the most complicated of the butters listed, but is well worth the effort. It is traditionally served with meats and fish, but it is also delicious on toast. This is another butter that is best made a few days before needed. It is best not to omit any ingredient, but the amounts can be varied slightly to appeal to individual tastes.
Chop the following ingredients, and drop them into a small saucepan of boiling water.
1 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon cilantro
1 tablespoon chives
1 tablespoon spinach, and
1 tablespoon tarragon
Blanch these for one minute. Rinse quickly with cold water and press dry with paper towels.
Blend this herb mixture together with the following.
2 drained anchovy fillets
1 small chopped dill pickle
1 tablespoon of drained capers
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 large crushed clove of garlic, and
1/2 cup softened butter
Blend until smooth, and then, with the motor running at low, drizzle in 3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil. Continue to mix until fully blended.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Stir in 2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar, and if you wish, a few drops of Tabasco sauce.