I love the smell of butter sizzling in a pan with the added smell of herbs wafting in the air. That’s the yummy pleasure I have every time I use one of my herb butters to cook with. Anything from making scrambled eggs with a good dollop of garlic and parsley butter, to steak finished off with cowboy dipping sauce – delicious mix of butter, lemon, garlic, mustard, paprika, parsley, chives, thyme, crushed red pepper flakes and black pepper. What’s not to love?
A herb garden is the gift that keeps on giving as there is always a great supply of fresh herbs to add instant pizazz to any dish and when you have too many, you can dry them but that’s a topic for another blog. I haven’t always been a gardener and killed most plants with kindness (too much water) or utter neglect but somehow my herbs always survived my TLC. There doesn’t seem to be many bugs that attack them, and I have learned to use some soapy water to get rid of things like black aphids by spritzing them and then rinsing the chives when I use them. With minimal interference, I seem to have a thriving garden despite my lack of green fingers!
Butter is beautiful on its own but sometimes sprucing it up is lots of fun – especially when you start mixing in delicious herbs and spices. Herb butters are super easy to make and using my trusty herb scissors which you can find here makes the chopping part a cinch. The basics of the recipe is as follows:
Always use room temperature butter. If you melt it, it will separate and that’s just yuck to try and blend together again.
Whip one cup of butter using an electric beater (you could use a rubber spatula but you may need a new arm)
Use a spoon or rubber spatula to add your herbs and other fresh ingredients, so they don’t bruise or fall apart. Thoroughly mix any dry spices beforehand so they can be incorporated evenly into the butter.
Once everything has been mixed through thoroughly, roll your butter in parchment paper, twist the ends like a Christmas cracker and then freeze. I like to chill it wrapped in cling film and once cold, slice the butter into rounds and keep it in the fridge for easy use. If you are not using it often enough, freeze it as the fresh herbs will spoil if kept in the fridge for too long. It is very quick to defrost and when tossing it in a pan, you don’t even need to. Just don’t forget to remove the plastic first. I may have had experience of this…..did I say that?
For flavour variations just add at step 3:
Chilli and lime –
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons coriander, minced
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bacon and cheese – (use over steamed veges – not in a pan as the cheese sticks)
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, drippings reserved
2/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons chives, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon and herb –
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 tablespoons fresh herbs (basil, dill and coriander), minced, 1 tablespoon of each
salt and pepper, to taste
Cowboy butter –
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1 pinch red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of finely chopped thyme
1 tablespoon of chopped chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper
So, with a little prep, you can enjoy the herbs um fruits of your labours, for a long time. Let me know in the comments what your favourite flavour combos are.