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Making Better Butter

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Category: Spreads

 Ingredients List

  • 1 Info below


"Start with the freshest butter you can find. I use unsalted butter
because I like to control the amount of salt (if any) in the finished
product, and because its flavor is more delicate than that of the heavily
salted varieties that are commonly available. Because butter is more
perishable when unsalted, I recommend that you keep it frozen until you're
ready to use it.

"Any herbs or fruits to be used in the butter should be fresh but without
excess moisture, which will hasten spoilage. If you are picking fresh herbs
for use in butter, wash them in the garden, 'on the hoof', the day before
you cut them.

"Choose herbs that complement each other as well as the dish you have in

"I use my food processor for blending herb butters, but you can mix them by
hand if the ingredients are thoroughly chopped in advance. Begin with
butter at room temperature, and thoroughly blend in the base ingredients -
those that are powdery or pasty and others that add color and flavor but
little texture. Then add the ingredients that are to be more apparent in
the texture, such as herb leaves or olives.

"Freshly made herb butter should be refrigerated for at least three hours
(overnight is better) to allow the flavors to blend. It can be frozen as
long as three months without noticeable loss of flavor.

- Serving Suggestions -

"Sometimes I pack my butters in ordinary plastic containers such as
commercial margarine tubs or freezer containers, but usually I like to do
something fancy with them. Here are a few of my favorite ideas."

~ Pack the butter into small plastic molds and freeze them, then pop each
out into a plastic bag and keep frozen until served. Melt a molded shape of
herb butter over fresh pasta.

~ Roll butter into a fat cylinder, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it
until solid. Slice off rounds as needed to top vegetables, fish, or bread.

~ Pipe butter florets through a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip
onto a cookie sheet, then freeze.

~ Shave off colorful curls of refrigerated herb butter with a butter

~ Make butter balls with a melon baller, then add texture with butter

~ With a rolling pin, roll the butter out about 1/4 inch thick, then cut
various shapes with miniature cookie cutters. Freeze until ready to use.

~ Whip the butter with a hand-held mixer until it is light and fluffy, then
pack it in earthenware crocks. (You need a whisk attachment to whip butter
in a food processor.)

~ Use herb butter in making pastry crusts; use savory herbs for savory
dishes and sweeter herbs (such as lavender and lemon verbena) for pastries.

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