I get so excited about fresh herbs. Whenever I go to Columbia Road Flower Market I have to stop myself coming away with every potted herb in sight. But I can never resist and always come back with a few (if not way too many) that I never get round to using before they begin to die.
As I walk home and turn one corner I smell the rosemary, then I’m hit by the mint followed by thyme……it’s the best! I get home, place them on the balcony and admire how beautiful and vibrant they look. It’s at this point I usually think hard about how I will keep them alive, which I can never manage to do.
I am so not green fingered but making herb butter is a great and perfect way to use up herbs up when you know that they are about to turn. Obviously they taste much better when fresh but by freezing the butter you are savouring all those beautiful and fantastic flavours, and you don’t end up wasting them and throwing them away.
I love having these in freezer to jazz up a weekday evening meal when I am not in the mood to cook. I have so many herb butters in the freezer since they take no time to make and can be used in so many meals and dishes. Garlic and basil butter for garlic bread (the days when I eat bread, of course), mint butter for some new jersey potatoes, chive and garlic butter for a tuna steak, lemon, thyme and garlic butter to place under the skin of a chicken going into roast, chilli and mint butter to drizzle over barbecued baby back lamb ribs, shallot butter, rosemary and garlic butter with a touch of mustard or sundried tomatoes, thyme and garlic butter. The list is endless and they all work to make a gorgeous and delicious dish shine. Here are a few I have made recently but you really can put in whatever herbs take your fancy!
The prep. part
- 250g of unsalted butter left to out of the fridge to soften for about 40 minutes.
- Finely chop up the ingredients or throw all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz for about 30 seconds.
Chive and garlic butter
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 8 – 10 chives
Mint & chilli butter
- 2 red bird’s eyes chillies, deseeded if you can’t take the heat.
- A handful of mint
Lemon, garlic and thyme butter
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 2 garlic cloves
- 5 sprigs of thyme
Rosemary, garlic and mustard butter (This is fantastic with steak!)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 5 sprigs of rosemary
- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
Sundried tomatoes, thyme and garlic butter
- 3 tablespoons of sundried tomatoes
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 1 garlic clove
Herb butters keep in the fridge for about 3 days or 1 month in the freezer.
The cooking/ assembling part
- There is no cooking needed! Just roughly chop up your ingredients as fine as you can (or throw them into a food processor) and then mix them with the butter.
- Cut off a rectangle of greaseproof paper or cling film and place the butter in the centre. Fold over in half so the longer edges meet and then simply roll to form a sausage and twist the ends.
Enjoy giving your weekday dinner a marvellous lift with so little effort!
Hmmm, thinking maybe I’ll make an anchovy and basil butter soon as my basil doesn’t look like it’ll see the week out. Anyone out there that can help me keep my herbs alive???