A flavored butter – called a compound butter, can elevated any veggies or meat to dazzling new heights. Truly. A compound butter also can be flavored with just about anything, making it a handy recipe to have in your recipe arsenal. Here I’ve taken perfectly steamed green beans & really made them shine with lemon, feta & basil butter. Really these would be fabulous served with anything really but my favorite is a grilled steak or roasted chicken.
Green beans are available all year long. I bought these beans from the farmers market. Brussels sprouts would be completely delicious roasted & tossed with this same butter too. Or peas. Even very lightly wilted spinach.
Making a compound butter is about as easy as it gets: you mix softened butter with whatever flavors take your fancy – in my case basil, lemon zest, garlic & feta cheese; roll it into a log & chill – both you & the butter. When the butter becomes firm, simple slice it & toss it through hot veggies, couscous, pasta. Or place a pat on top of a perfectly cooked steak or toss it together in a pan with calamari or shrimp. It’s such a simple way to joosh up almost any food.
Green beans & potatoes, my two favorite veggies. There’s actually a green bean diet. I tried it. Bought the book. I lasted two days. This probably doesn’t surprise you. And I love beans. I probably wasn’t allowed wine.
Ridiculously easy, this is such a perfect side dish for the harried at Thanksgiving or Christmas. The butter can be made weeks in advance & then it’s mind-numblingly simple to throw together together. And I know everyone will love the recipe. It’s butter. Who doesn’t love butter?!
For another simple side dish, check out my mint & walnut pesto sugar snap peas recipe.
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 3 oz (85g) feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- pinch salt & freshly ground pepper
- 1 lb (453g) French green beans
- crumbled feta & basil leaves, to serve
- Mash softened butter & feta together in a small bowl using a fork until well combined. Add basil, zest, garlic, salt & pepper; stir until well combined. Scrape mixture onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper & use the paper to roll & shape the butter into a small log, about 5 to 6 inches (12 – 15cm) long. Place in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours or until firm. You can also pop it into the freezer for quicker results.
- Place beans in large, shallow pan (I use a frying pan with a lid). Add about 1 inch (2.5cm) of water with a pinch of salt to pan; cover. Bring to a boil on high heat. Shake pan gently to ensure all beans cook evenly. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes (for tender small beans, cook a little longer for larger beans) or until beans are tender but still a little crisp. Drain water from pan but leave the beans in pan.
- Cut butter log into thick slices & add half to pan. Toss beans until the butter is melting. Place on serving platter & top with more butter slices or freeze for another use (such as baby potatoes). Top with extra feta & basil leaves if desired.
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