Chef Michael Smith’s KitchenDecember 5, 2016
Slow CookerJanuary 8, 2017
Written by Amber Smith and TSG
So its coming close to the end of the season for our gardens. The last of the tomatoes, peppers and onions easily made into great homemade salsa. But what do you do with all those herbs? Herb butter is a great way to use up those herbs and have that fresh garden herb taste into the colder months ahead.
I love classic chive butter, salted or unsalted butter brought to room temp mixed with finely chopped chives. The butter itself becomes flavored with the herb and really enhances it. It is fantastic on baked potatoes. Most garden herbs work well. Once the butter and herbs are mixed, spoon out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Roll the butter into a log shape, about one inch around. It will look like a thin roll of cookie dough. Twist the ends, write the herb or herbs on a piece of masking tape and place on the log. Put in a freezer bag to help it last longer. Cut into disks when you are ready to use. You can throw it onto or into food while it’s still frozen.
Use your imagination. Add several herbs. Or use spices in your cabinet such as cayenne for a hot note. Raw garlic is not recommended unless your using it right away. Storing chopped garlic without preservatives for long periods produces a nasty bacteria that can make you sick. Use garlic salt or garlic powder instead. I don't recommend using fresh basil either because it blackens quickly before you can incorporate it into the butter. Again, the dried version will work fine.
There is no hard and fast recipe so just take a handful of minced herbs or a tablespoon or two of spices. Add one or two sticks of softened butter and mix together using a spatula and mixing bowl. Once mixed thoroughly, lay out on waxed paper or plastic wrap and roll into a tube. twist off the ends and seal it closed in a resealable plastic bag. toss in the refrigerator to use soon or the freezer if you want to keep it for up to a couple of months before using.
Some other flavorful ideas to try in the butter:
- Herbs fresh or dried: chives, dill, oregano, sage, parsley
- Spice powders like garlic, roasted onion, chili powder, black pepper, paprika, ground sumac,
- Ground mushroom powder.
- Shredded, crumbled, or grated cheese that have strong flavors: Parmesan, Cheddar, blue cheese
- Pureed chipotle chilies in adobo sauce or hot sauces
- Seasoning packets or seasoning blends: ranch dressing seasoning, seasoning salt, soup packets, Old Bay seasoning
- Condiments like ketchup, mustard, prepared horseradish, wasabi paste, tomato paste, sriracha, or A1 sauce.
- Finely chopped or pureed fruit, fresh or dried like minced apricots, pureed avocado, or crystallized ginger
- Finely chopped meats: crumbled crispy bacon, chipped beef, deviled ham, shaved deli meats
- Make it a desert butter and add jam, jelly, brown sugar, cinnamon, or vanilla.
Try other spice blends and herbs and have fun with it.
This can last a long time in the freezer as long as it is wrapped well, but everyone loves it so much you won’t need to think about it going to waste.