Herb butter, or compound butter as it's sometimes called, is a great technique to have in your culinary arsenal. The method is simple: you combine a bunch of chopped herbs, citrus zest, cracked pepper, or other seasonings with room-temperature butter and then use the butter immediately or roll it up in parchment paper and refrigerate it until firm.
Once you've made the butter, there are countless ways to use it: massage it all over a chicken's skin and inside its cavity before roasting, dot it onto just-seared steaks, serve with sliced bread or rolls, or slather it on grilled corn on the cob. Or, do as I did with this batch: let it bring major flavor to your holiday turkey by rubbing it all over (and inside) it before it takes a trip to the oven.
This version takes a cue from classic Thanksgiving flavors — thyme, rosemary, and sage — but the recipe is incredibly adaptable; see the recipe notes for more suggestions.
Photos: Anna Monette Roberts
Make certain to finely mince the herbs when working with woodier herbs, as in this recipe. Virtually any fresh herb works well in compound butter; if working with softer, less intensely flavored herbs like basil or parsley, up the amount to 1/2 cup per 1 stick of butter. Other addition ideas: citrus zest, blue cheese, parmesan, paprika, cayenne, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic (roasted would be particularly lovely), honey, strawberries, vanilla bean, and cinnamon. Basically, anything goes; have fun!
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon sage, minced
1 tablespoon rosemary, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme, minced
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, to taste
- Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the herbs and salt, and beat until evenly incorporated. Taste by spreading a dab on a piece of bread, and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
- Use the butter immediately, or refrigerate. To refrigerate, turn the butter out onto a large piece of parchment paper; roughly shape into a log shape, and roll tightly, twisting the ends of the parchment to seal. Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to a month.
- Condiments/Sauces, Other
- North American
- About 10 tablespoons