Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Herb Butter

Fresh herbs really make a dish sing. If you are lucky enough to have an herb garden--or even just a pot or two with some basil or parsley--you know how delightful it is to add herbs with a generous hand to pastas, salads, roasts, and even the odd dessert or two.

But for the rest of us (my herb garden died a swift and violent death after one particular heat wave), we have to buy the suckers.

And fresh herbs are expensive!

So if you have some leftovers after using herbs in a recipe, you want to do something with them before they go bad.

Because in addition to being pricey, fresh herbs have a short life. Here's a quick and easy trick to using leftover bits of herbs that anybody can do. Plop some softened butter in a small bowl. (Don't worry about the amounts; this is all to taste.):

Chop up finely whatever leftover bits of herbs you have on hand. Today, I had a little leftover chives:

and some oregano:

and a bit of Italian Parsley:

Add the minced herbs to the softened butter:

and give them a stir until they're evenly distributed:

Turn the herb butter into a small ramekin, or even a little teacup if that's all you have. Cover it with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge:

Something about being mixed in the butter seems to preserve the herbs. Is it the fat in the butter? The salt? I don't know, but the herbs don't go black, the way they would if just left in the fridge in a plastic bag or box.

Your herb butter will last for a week or two and taste wonderful. Just scoop out a tablespoon or two every time you need some and pop the rest back in the fridge.

You can also cover the whole ramekin with plastic wrap, secure with a rubber band, and keep the herb butter in the freezer until you need it. It will last for months and months.

Bon Appetit!

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