If you are lucky enough to have a great source of Nasturtium blossoms this spring and summer, you will definitely want to try out some delicious Nasturtium Butter! It couldn’t be simpler to make, and it is a great way to preserve that gorgeous summertime riot of color.
Compound Butter is a technique that combines flavoring elements with cold butter to use as an accompaniment to hot foods, the flavors creating a sauce as the butter melts. It is a great way to feature delicate flower parts like the slightly peppery Nasturtium flower petals and the sweet and crunchy sepals (the green part of the stem that connects to and holds the blossom together).
I used organic, unsalted butter, a little lemon zest and lemon juice, and nothing else. I didn’t want to use too much lemon because I didn’t want to overpower the delicate Nasturtium flavor, or give too much yellow color to the butter to take away from the beautiful orange blossoms. I’ll give a basic recipe below, but use your best judgement on the balance of flavors. Plant materials are all different, and your main goal is to feature the flowers. I’m eating a low salt diet these days, so I didn’t use any salt in mine, but you might find that a light touch of salt will suit your taste better. I wouldn’t start with salted butter though, use good quality unsalted butter and then only add enough salt to bring out the other flavors. If you are planning on saving your summery compound butter in the freezer for up to 6 months, go ahead and add a little salt to help preserve the flavors.
Make sure you use only Edible Flowers, and nothing that might have been sprayed with a chemical only meant for decorative plants. I’m lucky enough to get a supply from my farmers at Crack in the Sidewalk Farmlet, and after eating them in my salad and creating gorgeous Floral Ice Cubes with them, I was eager to try something else using these edible beauties!
1/2 cup fresh, organic Nasturtium flowers (probably about an ounce or two by weight, or one blister pack)
1 stick (4 oz) organic, unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 organic lemon, washed and dried. For one stick of butter, you will use 1/3 – 1/2 of the whole lemon, depending on its size, to yield approximately:
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tbsp. lemon juice
- Finely chop the flowers, including the tender green stem that is attached.
- Use a microplane to scrape the zest off of one end of the lemon. Slice off the zested part and squeeze out the juice.
- Add the chopped flowers to the softened butter, blend well. Add the lemon zest and juice a little at a time, blending and tasting as you go. Add only enough lemon to give the right balance of acid and citrus flavor without overpowering the taste of the flowers. Once you have the flavors balanced, add salt if you want, again making sure it stays balanced and doesn’t become too salty.
- Use a piece of parchment or waxed paper or the wrapper from the stick of butter, roll the butter into a log and place into the refrigerator until firm.
- When ready to use, slice off pats to serve on top of hot foods such as fish, chicken, mashed potatoes or rice, anything with a light flavor that will compliment the beautiful butter.