Is it possible to figure out how many potatoes you have eaten in your life? At my age, and with my growing-up-in-the-50s background, my PPC — Personal Potato Count — is very, very high. Baked potatoes, French fries, hash browns, potato salad, … That veggie has been a major part of intake.
And my favorite? Well, for ease of use, I love them baked. However, I could use a baked boost. Just baked with butter is good — although I have been accused of adding too much salt and pepper. But that standard pairing day-in-day-out can get a tad boring. Sour cream and chives? I’ve been there. Worchester and other steak sauces? Spicy and interesting, but not every day. And there is salt there, too.
Yes, it was suggested that I lower my salt intake. And, yes, my lovely wife is monitoring my intake grain by grain.
Back to that butter. That unsalted butter by the way. This summer Suzen is offering her Cooking by the Book clients steak with an herbed butter. I expanded that idea this weekend to create this flavored butter that was just outstanding on my baked potato. The butter flavor is there, of course, but now augmented with the tasty boost of peppers, basil and cilantro. The best part of this? There is enough flavor here that you do NOT want to grab for the salt shaker.
Pepper and Herbed Butter
Yield: 12 tablespoons
- 1 stick of butter [4 ounces or 8 tablespoons]
- ⅓ cup of canned red pepper, finely diced
- 5 basil leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
Take the stick of butter from the refrigerator and finely slice it on a cutting board. Place the slices in a bowl and using a wooded spoon work the butter until it begins to soften. You’ll need at least 2 minutes here.
Add the remaining ingredients and continuing working the butter. At some point you may want to use your hands, not a spoon, to gently fold the peppers and herbs into the butter. I had a lot of pepper to incorporate; dicing the peppers finely makes the incorporation stage easier.
Form the butter into a roll, seal in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour before use.
Source: Brian O’Rourke
It’s spring. Whether in your own garden, or in your grocery store, the first stock of fresh green veggies is arriving. Chives are a lovely way to create an herb butter. And this butter is versatile: perfect to spread on bread, or put on that backed potato or to top a steak with. Naturally, the actual ingredients here are yours to play. What and how much are up to your imagination. As always, fresh herbs are absolutely the best.
Yield: Generous ½ Cup
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh fennel fronds
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
- 2 pinches of kosher salt
- 2 pinches of freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, mix the butter, parsley, fennel fronds, chives, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate, covered, until needed. The butter will keep in an airtight container for 2 weeks in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer.
Source: The Blue Ribbon Cookbook by Bruce and Eric Bromberg
Photo Credit: Jennifer Davick