Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 5 minutes Yield: ½ cup
- ½ cup/110g butter
- 1-3/5-15ml fresh herbs, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon/2.5m ml lemon zest, grated (optional)
Herb butters can be part of elegant party fare or they can be an easy way to perk up a week night dinner. They are an excellent way to preserve fresh herbs, especially those like rosemary that lose some of their texture or flavour when dried. Parsley, coriander, chives, tarragon and chervil are also good candidates for herb butters.
Herb butters are superb on fish and other seafood and on almost any cooked vegetable. Use the smaller amount of herbs called for in the recipe if working with especially strong tasting herbs such as sage and rosemary; be a little more generous with the amount you include when the herb is a mild one like parsley.
Herb butters will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months and in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Leave the butter at room temperature until it softens
- Chop finely the fresh herbs and grate lemon zest if using.
- Put the softened butter in a bowl. Use a fork, mash it together with the herb and lemon zest until thoroughly combined. If you started with unsalted butter, you can add salt to taste (those on low salt diets may find herb butters are a flavourful way to skip salt altogether).
- Scoop the herb butter onto a piece of waxed or parchment paper. Shape it into a log by rolling it in the paper. Wrap the herb butter tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 months.
- If storing for more than 2 months, put the wax or parchment wrapped butter into a freezer bag and freeze for up to 12 months. The butter will still be safe to eat after this but the quality will decline.
- Transfer the frozen butter to the fridge 24 hours before you intend to use it.
Using Herb Butters
- Use parsley plus lemon zest on steamed or boiled vegetable.
- Chive butter is great on baked potatoes.
- Cut thin round of herb butter to serve at each place at dinner parties. Garnish with a fresh sprig of the same herb if available.
- Melt butter and drizzle over seafood after cooking and just before serving.
- Drizzle melted herb butter over popcorn.