Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter – capture the flavour of zesty spring herbs
Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter is a fantastic way to capture the fresh taste of spring herbs. Sorrel is a leafy plant, with leaves that look a bit like spinach leaves, and has a distinctive lemony taste. It provides a burst of fresh sharp flavour which is so welcome in early spring. It can be hard to find in supermarkets but it is very easy to grow if you have a garden or outside space for a pot. Sorrel was one of the first things that I planted when I moved into my current house – it sits in an unprepossessing spot near the garden fence, needs no attention whatsoever and each year produces lots of leaves from early spring onwards.
Clearly, you can use any herbs that you like to make a Herb Butter. Others that lend themselves particularly well to this kind of treatment are parsley, tarragon (especially good with chicken) and sage (good with pasta). You can play with different flavour combinations to suit your taste. However, I think it is best not to include too many herbs – you need to allow individual flavours to be sing out rather than get lost in a crowd. Also, it is best to stick to soft herbs (rather than woody herbs). Other flavourings that go well in a herb butter include garlic (of course!), chilli, citrus (grated zest of lemon, orange or lime) and spices (in particular nutmeg).Print
A tasty Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter which can be used to enhance the flavour of pasta and cooked fish and meat.
- 3 to 4 sorrel leaves
- Around 10 chive stems
- 100 g salted butter (ideally, room temperature)
- 1 clove of garlic
- Black pepper to taste
- Finely chop the sorrel and chives. Either chop the garlic clove finely or squeeze through a garlic press
- Mash up the butter and incorporate the chopped herbs, garlic and black pepper. This is much easier to do if you have left the butter out of the fridge for half an hour or so.
- Shape the herby butter as you wish. I generally roll it into a sausage shape. Then, when you want to use the butter, you can easily cut it into discs. Sometimes, I get fancy and use cookie cutters to shape it into hearts or other shapes.
- Put the Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter into the fridge, wrapped in cling-film, until you wish to use it. It will keep in the fridge for around two weeks and can also be frozen if you wish to keep it for longer as it will last for around three months in the freezer.
There are so many uses for Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter – it adds zest and flavour to a great many dishes – but some of my favourites are as follows:
- Add on top of grilled meat or fish just prior to serving. It will melt and release all its butter flavour. I think Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter is particularly good with grilled chicken and with grilled salmon or lemon sole.
- Stir into cooked pasta to make a quick and tasty supper – see my recipe for Prawn Pasta with Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter. Or you could add some steamed vegetables – courgettes or peas are a good choice – or other sea-food such as scallops.
- Spread on some crusty bread and just eat it as it is or add some tangy cheese.
Keywords: sorrel butter, chive butter
Other things you can do with Sorrel
In addition to Herb Butter, there are lots of other quick and easy ways in which you can use sorrel. Some of my favourites are as follows.
- Use young leaves in a mixed green salad, along with lettuce, spinach or other greens.
- Heat some double cream and add chopped up sorrel leaves to make an instant sauce for meat or fish.
- Saute chopped up sorrel leaves in butter for a few minutes and then use as the filling for an omelette. Or you can add the leaves to the egg mixture when making an omelette and fill it with something rich and creamy such as grated cheddar cheese.
- Add chopped up sorrel leaves to soup – it goes very well with home-made leek and potato soup or chicken soup – to give instant zest.