I love butter. Dearly. Sometimes I think if I didn't love butter so much, I might spend a little less time wondering who shrunk my jeans. That said, any time I can find a recipe that works a little butter into the mix without turning it into a Paula Deen recipe, I'm a happy girl. Not that there's anything wrong with an occasional butter-laden recipe with a generous side of cream, but it's not exactly practical for everyday dining. That's why I love creating my own herb butters and butter sauces: they strike a perfect note between abstinence and overindulgence.
You can mix any herb you like into butter with wonderful results (parsley or chives work great), but I am a huge fan of basil. You can enjoy the herb butter at room temperature (great for slathering on a piece of crusty bread or melting over a piece of meat or fish) or you can ensure a little goes a long way by melting it into a butter sauce for drizzling over meat, fish, pasta, rice, etc.
This baked salmon recipe requires minimal effort and just a handful of ingredients to produce a satisfying meal with robust flavor. Serve the salmon on a bed of wild rice with a drizzle of leftover melted basil butter and a crisp, green salad on the side. Enjoy!
Baked Salmon with Basil Butter
(recipe courtesy of Alice Waters)
4 salmon fillets
Salt and fresh pepper
3 tablespoons of basil butter (recipe follows)
Olive oil, to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Oil a baking dish, then prepare the salmon by seasoning it with salt and freshly-ground pepper. Place the salmon in the baking dish and brush to generously oil the fish. Bake the salmon for about 10 minutes (check it after 7-8). The flesh of the fish should feel firm, but the inside should still be slightly pink.
Place the salmon over rice, spoon the basil butter over the fillets and allow to melt.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter,
1/4 cup of chopped basil
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
a pinch of cayenne pepper
fresh squeezed lemon juice (about a teaspoon)
Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl or ramekin, making sure to mix thoroughly with a fork.