Thursday, September 29, 2005

Quick! Use your herbs!

It’s time to make the most of your herbs, before the first frost. In Wisconsin we’ve been blessed with a warm autumn so far, but that can change on a dime. The easiest and one of the most rewarding things you can do with your herbs is to make herb butter. Come January, when your beautiful, fragrant herb garden is just a fleeting memory, you’ll be thankful you did.

To make herb butter, start with softened butter. I tend to add approximately ¼ cup of chopped herbs per stick of butter. You can use a single herb (just chives or basil for instance) or make compound butters, such as an Italian blend (oregano, basil, and a touch of rosemary). Check your own spice blend jars for ideas. For extra sparkle, add a bit of lemon zest to your herbs, or freshly cracked pepper. After you’ve made a wonderful array of herb butters, place them on plastic wrap, form into fairly thin logs, and freeze. You will be able to easily slice off what you need, and pop it back into the freezer.

I use my herb butters on steamed or microwaved vegetables, on baked fish, in sauces, or for sautéing. I also make “gourmet” herb butters, using special fresh European butters, exclusively for my home baked sourdough bread. Irresistible!

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