There are a few condiments that should always be in your kitchen, such as catsup, salsa, a variety of vinegars and hot sauce. All of these can add flavor and texture to your food.
Another one to consider having on hand is compund butter. A compound butter is any butter with added seasoning, whether herbs, lemon zest or spices. Keeping a roll in the freezer makes it very easy to add a pop a flavor to any dish!
Fresh Herb Compound Butter
About 1 cup fresh herbs of your choice, such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil
1 lb butter, softened
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Strip the leaves of your herbs from the stem, and place them into the bowl of a food processor.
Chop the herbs roughly in the processor. Add the butter and process until smooth. You will have to stop the processor a few times, and scrape down the sides. The butter will be soft and smooth when done.
Place a piece of parchment paper on a flat surface. If you don’t have parchment, use wax paper. Scrape the butter out of the bowl, and put it in the bottom 1/3 of your parchment.
Fold the short end of the parchment over the butter tightly, and begin smoothing the butter out while shaping it into a log. Press firmly but gently on the parchment so any air bubbles are smoothed out. Pull back on the parchment that is folded over the butter to tighten and compress the butter.
Roll the butter up completely in the parchment paper, and fold the ends to close it. If it’s not perfectly round, don’t worry! It will still taste good, and that’s whats important. The cylindrical shape just makes it easier to cut when it is frozen. Kind of like a tube of cookie dough.
Place the roll in the refrigerator to firm the butter up, and it is ready to use. If you wish to freeze it, wrap it in a couple layers of plastic wrap. When you want to use it, just unwrap the frozen butter, and cut off slices with a sharp knife. Then re-wrap and put it back in the freezer.
Some great uses for the butter are:
- Melt the butter over pasta, add some grated Parmesan cheese and toss
- Place a teaspoon or so of butter on top of baked or grilled chicken breast or salmon
- Place a tablespoon or so on a grilled or broiled steak
- Melt some butter on your steamed or sauteed vegetables for extra flavor
- Use a seasoned butter to make garlic bread
Whatever you make with your butter, enjoy it and be sure to experiment with different flavors.