For Herb Butter:
- 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 to 3 sprigs fresh herbs
- 1⁄2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)
- 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon salt
For Herb Salt:
- 4 parts finely minced herbs, fresh or dried
- 1 part kosher or fine- to medium-grain sea salt
For Herb Butter:Leave butter at room temperature for 30 minutes to soften. 2. Mince fresh herbs and grate lemon zest, if using. 3. Use a fork to mash together all ingredients. 4. Put herb butter on a piece of parchment or waxed paper. Roll it up in the paper so that it forms a log. Put wrapped herb butter log into a food storage container. After it firms up, slice butter as needed. Herb butter will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. It will still be edible after that, but flavor quality will decline. When using frozen herb butters, transfer them to the refrigerator 24 hours before you plan to use them. Makes 1⁄2 cup.
For Herb Salt:
- Stir herbs and salt to combine, and pack the mixture in clean glass containers with extra plain salt at the bottom of the jar and over the top of the mixture. This will ensure that the salt is able to extract all the moisture from the herbs. (Alternatively, you may dehydrate your herbs completely before mincing and combining them with salt. Let herbs dry in an oven set to the warm setting in a single layer on a sheet pan.) 2. Cover herb salt tightly and store jar in a cool, dark place indefinitely. The flavor intensity will diminish after a few months, but the salt will still be usable.
Herbs are a healthful and delicious way to flavor foods. While sprinkling fresh herbs onto dishes is the easiest way to use these beneficial plants, these simple seasonings take only a little more effort to make, and are a great addition to any kitchen. Use these incredibly easy recipes to preserve and make the most of the flavors of your herb plants, and add a new level of sophistication to your favorite dishes.
Herb butters look elegant and taste luxurious, but they are actually so easy to make and use that they deserve to become part of your everyday meals. Excellent herb candidates include
chervil, chives, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme. Use herb butter with steamed vegetables, baked potatoes, fish, and anything else that a savory butter flavor might enhance.
Herbed salts are a great way to preserve all kinds of fresh herbs, especially those that don’t dry well on their own, such as chives, cilantro and rosemary. They couldn’t be simpler to make. Use herb salts on roasted root vegetables, meats and popcorn; mixed into dips, salad dressings and marinades; and anywhere else you’re inspired to add flavor.