Easy to make Wild herb butter is a culinary trick to enhance and add flavor to any dish. Whether spread on bread or melted over your grilled vegetable or steak, herb butter is simply made by combining butter with the right selection of herbs.
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Without any doubts, I enjoy the time of the year when flowers start to pop up from frozen soil and enjoy each and every leaf or flower that comes with spring. These are the days that I spent hours just walking with my dog and exploring. Uncovering new places in our neighbourhood and herbs that I don’t know and those I know I try to remember when to find them next time.
In early spring I look for plants that are not blooming yet as their leaves are very powerful and potent, remedies such as dandelion leaves, nettle leaves and wild garlic (ramp) can be made from them.
These herbs are basically a free source of nutrients and packed with medicinal benefits. I always try to implement them in our diet but honestly it is not always an easy task to do. I made smoothies, pesto or soup. But this time I wanted something more culinary and decided to use them all in a compound butter.
My husband is a barbecue lover so I made this herb butter to put on his steak. It was a pleasure to watch the herb butter melting, infusing the flavors of the herbs into the sizzling steak.
herbs for herb butter
Before we go more into the details let's clarify why we want to eat all these greens.
The most known herbs that come up early in spring are dandelions.
Their leaves are crunchy and tasty if collected before flowering however, you need to start to notice them before they start to bloom. Later, the leaves become very bitter with slower growth and more sunlight, so the right time to harvest them is crucial. In addition to their taste dandelion leaves are also very nutritious and support good digestion. They contain vitamins A, B6 and C as well as Calcium, Potassium and Iron.
Ramp (wild garlic)
The season of Ramp (known also as a ramp, ramps, ramson, forest leek, spring onion, wild leek or wood leek) is very short so if you spot it make sure you use it or preserve it for later as you will have to wait another year to spot it again. Known for its typical garlic smell ramp is packed with vitamins, minerals, iodine, and other healthy substances.
Might also be beneficial in fighting cancer (1)
Nettle (Urtica dioica)
High in iron, nettle may help with iron deficiency. Packed with antioxidants and antiinflamatory agents nettle may help you fight infections and get your body back to its prime.(2).
Now back to our recipe.
What is the herb butter, also called compound butter?
It is a softened butter that is whipped with other ingredients, in our case wild herbs to enhance flavors of other dishes.
Sweet herb butter
is typically enhanced with cinnamon, dandelion petals, orange, honey or maple syrup and used as a topping on sweet dishes such as pancakes, waffles or cornbread
Salty herb butter
Salty herb butter is enhanced by herbs, spices, citrus zest or cheese to enhance savory dishes such as all kind of meat, pasta, bread, vegetables. You can use this rosemary salt to add more aromatic flavor.
Culinary herbs to be used in herbal butter
If you are currently in other than spring season you can use culinary herbs to make the herbal butter too. Chives, tarragon, oregano, parsley, mint, rosemary or thyme will give a special twist to your steak or any other dish.
Other wild herbs
Alternatively use other wild herbs to make the wild herbal butter such as wild mustard, fennel, yarrow leaves or mint. The possibilities are endless.
Herb butter recipe
Whether you want to process the herbs you currently have at home or you want to prepare herb butter to enhance a particular dish, you will have to follow these steps:
You can use a salted or unsalted version of butter but I like to use the unsalted to better control the amount of salt especially if mixed with other seasonings. Remove refrigerated butter from the fridge and let it soften (15 min)
Collect the herbs you plan to use and wash them thoroughly. Shake down all drops of water and place them on a paper kitchen towel to get rid of any remaining water. (water doesn’t blend well with butter)
Using a sharp knife finely chop the herbs.
Using a hand mixer or bowl and fork blend the herbs thoroughly into the softened butter. To make the butter really fluffy that is mainly required for their sweet version, use a blender or this Herbal butter maker that provides heat while making the herb butter smooth and fluffy without extra time
Add salt and pepper as per your taste
If you use it as a spread on your toast or any recipe that calls for butter you can use it immediately.
Or you can wrap it in greaseproof paper, roll it into a sausage shape and freeze it. Once frozen you can use it later, just slice it and watch it melt over the hot food.
How to use wild herb butter?
- As a spread on your fresh bread or baguette
- Melt it over your grilled vegetable
- Spread it on the corn on the cob
- Add it to your mashed potatoes
- Give special wild flavor to your sizzling steak or other grilled meat like chicken, turkey or even seefood
- This wild herbal butter will enhance any simple pasta dish
- Turn it into Herb butter sauce. Just blend the melted butter in the blender until creamy and smooth. Serve it with fish or other meats Blend the warm, melted butter with all the other ingredients in a blender or food processor. Whizz for 1-2min until creamy and smooth, then season. Serve the sauce immediately with the crispy salmon fishcakes.
Suggested Combinations of herbs
For turkey - rosemary, sage, and thyme
Chicken - paprika, rosemary, thyme, oregano
Herb butter for steak - parsley, basil and rosemary
The compound butter can be kept in the fridge for up to 1 month. Alternatively you can freeze it to store for longer without losing its texture or flavor. Use parchment paper to wrap it and place it into the back of the freezer for up to six months. When you decide to use it just simply transfer it from freezer to fridge one day before.
If you cannot eat a dairy you can use coconut oil instead. It softens easily and solidifies in the fridge however it carries a coconut taste. It makes a great dairy-free substitute that need to be complemented with lemon or lime juice or cilantro to complement the coconut taste.
You can use dried herbs and use the ratio 4 parts of fresh herbs versus 1 part of dried ground herbs.