For the Freezer: Basil Butter

While churning away on the elliptical machine at the gym, I like to watch the morning television shows (Today, not GMA, and occasionally a little Rachael Ray when I’m in the mood for super peppy).  I particularly enjoy the cooking segments, although sometimes it is hard to focus on working out while the tv chef is whipping up something scrumptious. 

Right as I was finishing my workout, I heard the one of the hosts say the words “basil butter” as I pulled the earphones off my head.  What?  What about basil butter did he say?  Unfortunately, there is no “rewind” feature at the gym, so the basil butter was gone.

This reminded me of a fish dish I make each Christmas, using roasted red pepper butter, which has become one of my very favorite meals.  The butter is whipped up with the peppers , shaped into mini-logs, and refrigerated.  Once firm, it is cut into medallions and placed on top of the freshly cooked fish, at which point it immediately melts red, buttery goodness onto the fillet.  I think basil butter could be the next best thing!

When I went home, I rifled through my produce drawer and found some fresh basil that was begging to be used.  I set out a stick of butter on my counter top, and busied myself with other projects until it came to room temperature. 

Into the mini-prep processor went the basil, then the softened butter and some salt (I always use unsalted butter when cooking, since I want to control the salt content rather than leave it up to Land-o-Lakes).  It is important to process the basil alone as a first step.  If you place all the ingredients in the processor together, the basil will have a hard time getting thoroughly chopped.  At the last minute, I decided that garlic would be a great addition to this, so I thawed two cubes of my favorite frozen garlic, and tossed those into the mixture.

 I decided to divide the butter to make two logs, which get wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.  To do this, lay out two squares of the wrap, place a big scoop of the butter in the center, and using the plastic, carefully roll it into a log-shape.  Twist the ends (like a bon-bon wrapper), label, and freeze.  You may want to put the wrapped logs in a zip lock bag so they don’t get lost in your freezer.

The basil butter is very versitile and can be used as an embellishment for fish, steak, steamed veggies, pasta or even as a great way to finish a sauce.  Just remove from the freezer, allow to thaw (but not soften completely or it will be too hard to cut), slice into medallions, and add to your finished dish.  It’s a simple way to  magically turn your kitchen into a five-star restaurant! 

Basil Butter

Makes 2 logs

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves

1-2 cloves garlic  (or 2 frozen garlic cubes, thawed)

salt to taste

Place the basil and garlic into the work bowl of the food processor and pulse until minced. 

Add softened butter and process until incorporated.  Add salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon).  Pulse again. 

Using 2 squares of plastic wrap, form into logs, twist ends to seal, and freeze for up to 6 months.

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4 Responses to “For the Freezer: Basil Butter”

  1. Elena Says:

    This is a great idea! Any suggestions on how to marinate basil and other spices in olive oil?

  2. Tracy Says:

    You mean like an infused oil? That is a great way to use extra basil or other herbs! What I do is heat the oil in a pan over low heat and add the herbs or spices and let the flavors combine for about 5 minutes. Allow it to come to room temperature before storing in an airtight jar or container. Keep it in the fridge for no more than a month. Don’t do huge batches of this because it won’t keep forever! Good luck and let me know how it goes!

  3. Deana Gunn Says:

    I love your trick of wrapping them in plastic and forming the log shapes and having perfectly sliced medallions. I’ll have to try that! In the past I’ve put stuff like this (pesto, sauces, butters) in ice cube trays and then popped them out and stored them in plastic bags…but then you have greasy ice cube trays!

  4. paula Says:

    Hmmm…..did I already say ‘good idea’ for something else? Well this is another good idea. Basil/Garlic butter on demand
    with no muss. Yeah, it’s a good idea with
    even greater possibilities.

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