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Herbs - Storing Tips

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Herb Butters & Mayo

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Herb Butters and Mayonnaises

Many herbs blend superbly with butter or mayonnaise, releasing their flavour and transforming ordinary dishes into something special. They will keep in the fridge for a few weeks and the butters can be frozen.

Herb Butters
for each 50g of butter use 1 dessertspoon chopped herbs
Always use softened butter and beat it a little first in a large bowl. Then add the chopped fresh herbs and beat again to incorporate. If you use a food processor, add the herbs by “pulsing” ; you want to have little bits of recognisable herb in the butter not just a green mush.
You can make single herb butters or combine two or more. Chives, Garlic Chives, Tarragon, Parsley, Rocket, Thyme, Sage, Dill, Fennel, Chervil, Sorrel and Salad Burnet are all excellent. Taste as you go to achieve the strength and balance of flavours that you like.

For garlic bread use garlic chives and parsley as well a clove or two of crushed garlic beaten into the butter. Slice the bread nearly through, spread the butter between the slices, and put in the oven to melt the butter.

Baked potatoes are wonderful with a butter made with chives, parsley and a little sage.

New potatoes are even more delicious if you add dill and salad burnet to the butter.

Grilled fish becomes special with a herb butter made with fennel and sorrel melted onto it.

Steak can be even more of a treat if accompanied by a butter of rocket and thyme.
          Begin by making small quantities and experimenting. You will need smaller quantities of strong tasting herbs like thyme and sage than you will of milder ones like chervil or salad burnet.

Herb Mayonnaise
By adding herbs, bought mayonnaise tastes luxurious and if you make your own, which really isn’t difficult, you will serve up a triumph.

1 egg yolk
pinch mustard powder
salt
ground black pepper
1 dessertspoon white wine or herb vinegar (lemon verbena, tarragon or fennel are good)
150ml grapeseed, safflower or other mild flavoured oil
1 dessertspoon boiling water

Put the egg yolk in a deep mixing basin. Add the mustard, salt and pepper and a little of the vinegar. Place the basin on a damp cloth so it doesn’t skite around when you are mixing. Have the oil measured into a jug that pours easily.
Using a balloon whisk, whisky the egg and vinegar until they are thoroughly blended then start adding the oil, drop by drop, whisking all the time. Once you have very slowly added about half the oil the mixture will thicken and you can then add the rest of the vinegar and then the oil in a steady stream, still whisking all the time. Hold the jug above the whisk so that the oil falls directly onto it and is immediately incorporated into the mayonnaise.
When you have added all the oil, the mayonnaise will be very thick; for a plainish mayonnaise add 1 dessertspoon of boiling water before you mix in the finely chopped herbs. You can, instead, add a dessertspoon of yoghurt or soured cream or fresh cream.

For this quantity of mayonnaise you will want to add two or three tablespoons of choppped herbs, depending on the strength of the individual herbs. Use the same herbs as are recommended for herb butters.
To garnish a bowl of mayonnaise scatter some calendula petals on top or place a single nasturtiuim flower in the middle.