Beurre de Montpellier

Montpellier Butter

A non-butter butter which depends on egg yolks and olive oil to thicken the purée of herbs. I find the flavour of Montpellier butter improves if made about 8 hours ahead. Serve it on hot or cold fish and eggs.

Ingredients

  • 115 g(4 oz) mixed fresh herbs and leaves comprising equal quantities of the following: tarragon, chives, parsley, chervil, watercress, and a few leaves of sorrel and spinach
  • 1 slim shallot, very finely chopped
  • 5 anchovy fillets, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 small pickled gherkins, finely chopped
  • 1 slim clove of garlic
  • 3 egg yolks, hard-boiled
  • 1 egg yolk, raw
  • 55–85 ml(2–3 fl oz) olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt
  • cayenne pepper

Method

Remove the stems from the herbs and shred the larger leaves. Stir the shallot into a pan of salted boiling water and add the herbs. Blanch for 1 minute, drain well in a sieve, pressing out as much water as possible, and turn the mixture on to a plate to cool.

Chop the herbs finely in a processor, blender or moulinette and mix to a purée with the anchovy fillets, capers, gherkins, garlic, cooked egg yolks and raw egg yolk.

When the mixture is almost uniformly green, beat in sufficient olive oil to make a thickish sauce. Sharpen the taste slightly with lemon juice and season with salt and cayenne pepper. For a very smooth, uniform Montpellier butter the mixture could now be sieved but I prefer the delicately flecked look. Spoon the butter into a dish, cover and chill for a few hours before serving.

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