A little bit of butter left in the butter dish? A great way to use up before washing the dish and putting the new butter pat in, is to mash with herbs and spices to create a quick and easy topping for fish, meat, vegetables and potatoes ….
Yesterday I tried flat leaf parsley, rock salt, black pepper and garlic …… adjust quantities according to your own taste and quantity of butter you have spare
Mash the butter with a fork until you have a workable consistency, add a sprinkle of rock salt – the rough stuff gives you a delicious, salty crunch when melted on top of steaks. Add in a crushed garlic clove and chopped herbs – flat leaf parsley (a hugely underrated herb in my opinion) is a delicious combination with garlic and is perfect with steaks, chops and other red meats.
When everything is mashed together, roll in foil or cling film to create a butter ‘sausage’ and pop in the fridge or freezer. When your meat, fish or veggies are ready, slice off a couple of knobs and add to your dish. Any leftover herb butter can be stored in the freezer and brought out to liven up a mid-week supper.
Tarragon and Lemon Zest – good with chicken and fish
Rosemary and Garlic – lovely with lamb or on toasted Foccaccia (remember to finely chop the rosemary as this can be quite a robust herb to eat whole!)
Sage & Shallot, add salt & pepper to taste – Finely dice a shallot and chop Sage to give you that traditional ‘stuffing’ flavour – this can be poked under the skin of a whole chicken before roasting
Smoked Paprika, Garlic and Sea Salt – great on prawns for that smoky, Spanish flavour
Coriander, Ginger and Lime Zest, – delicious on fish or chicken for an Asian taste and you can add some heat with either fresh finely chopped red or green chillies or dried chilli flakes
In my opinion this doesn’t really work with curry spices as they need to be cooked to burn off any bitterness and I think curry powder unless cooked into onions and tomatoes has quite a powdery texture
Mixed spice or a little cinnamon mixed into butter works well on a crumpet or toasted teacake too – cinnamon is also fantastic in Mexican dishes so a knob added to your Chilli con Carne will make it taste all the more authentic
You can even drop a couple of knobs of herby butter into casseroles at the end of cooking to give the gravy a glossy finish and a little added fresh herb flavour. I honestly find much more use for these little butter pats than I ever do for the frozen stock that I have had sitting in ice-cube trays for months and months and am never quite sure what to do with???? What do you do with yours?