This herb butter can be used as a spread for sandwiches and crackers with smoked salmon, or used to top grilled salmon or steamed chicken as an instant sauce. Slip thin slices under the skin of a chicken to be roasted and you get a moist buttery chicken with lots of fresh herb flavor. It is great for making a pan sauce as well; after sautéing scallops or fish, de-glaze the pan with some white wine or lemon juice and whisk in small cubes of this compound butter to form the sauce.
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons shallot, minced
1/4 cup fresh dill, snipped finely with scissors or chopped finely with a very sharp knife
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice
A scant 1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
When butter is soft, spread the butter over a sheet of parchment or foil to a half-inch thickness. Drizzle evenly with the vinegar or lemon juice, then scatter evenly with the shallots, and salt and pepper.
Work these ingredients into the butter with a fork. If the butter is really soft and looks like it will separate put into the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
After the ingredients are well incorporated, spread the butter out again and cover with the dill. Incorporate the dill into the butter without turning it into pulp.
Scrape the butter together and roughly form a 4-inch log. Transfer this onto a fresh square of parchment or plastic wrap, and place near the bottom of the sheet. Roll up from the bottom, keeping the cylinder tight. Twist ends in opposite directions to compact the butter roll.
Place in the refrigerator to firm up, then unroll and neaten up the ends. Wrap up and store in the refrigerator for short term storage, or freeze for long term.
Slice off what is needed and re-wrap and freeze. Will keep 2-3 months.
This can be made in a mixer or food processor. In the mixer, use a paddle to just whip the butter, then evenly scatter all the other ingredients over the butter and scrape down the sides. Use the paddle to mix everything and then proceed as above.
For the food processor, process the butter just enough to spread it out, then add the ingredients and process, scraping the sides down, until everything is mixed. This will yield a green butter that is not as bright tasting but more intensely dill flavored. Great for making a sauce for grilled or broiled salmon or swordfish.
YIELD: 1/2 cup