Summer Fresh Garden Herbs and Compound Butter

So much going on this week.

First of all, it’s Wednesday, which means it’s Summer Fest time again. This week’s Summer Fest topic is herbs, greens, and/or beans. So we’re going to make some compound butter with fresh parsley, basil, rosemary, and garlic.

Fresh Herbs

Compound butters really are super simple to make and do a great job of fancying up even the simplest of dishes. Much like making your own mayonnaise, it gives you the ability to add flavor where usually there is none, and also has the added bonus of tending to make non-cooking-types impressed.

So.

All you’re doing to make this is setting out a stick of butter to get to room temperature, mixing in the flavors, and then cooling again to re-solidify. That’s all there is to it.

Chop up your herbs as fine as you like and mince or grate the garlic. You can add as much or as little as you like – generally I add about 2-3 tbsp worth of herbs and one large clove of garlic.

Compound Butter with Herbs

WARNING: Don’t microwave or heat your butter in any way to speed up the tempering process. You are likely to wind up breaking the emulsion of the butter and then you’ll just have a big goopy mess and won’t be able to get it to re-solidify properly.

Once your herbs and butter are adequately folded together, spoon out onto a piece of parchment paper wide enough to roll it up in. Then simply roll it up, twist the ends, and it’s ready to go in the fridge. I recommend dating and labeling it – a habit which tends to help keep your fridge clean.

Compound Butter Completed

This will last in the fridge about as long as any regular butter would. Did you know you can freeze butter for long term storage? You should put it in a plastic bag or otherwise air-tight container before doing so, but butter can be kept frozen for months. I like to keep a couple varied compounds on hand that I’ve made ahead of time, so that I can break them out whenever necessary.

Compound butters don’t need to be made only with herbs, either. They can be made with all kinds of flavors – anything from honey and cinnamon, to shallots and red wine, and everything in between.

Later on this week, we’ll be using this compound butter on my steakhouse toasties which I’m guest posting over at Wisconsin Cheese Talk. These fancypants grilled cheese sandwiches are really some of my favorite sandwiches ever, so I hope you’ll head over there and take a look on Friday.

So what else is going on this week in the name of fresh summer time herbs? Have a little look-see. Go ahead. Do it.