Summer’s secret weapon: garlic basil lemon butter
Magic basil butterCulinary delight

Summer’s secret weapon: garlic basil lemon butter

It's addicting

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

My daughter recently put together a magical combination, which has quickly become my secret culinary weapon. My only regret was that her first batch was a mere quarter pound, so we had to replenish the supply PDQ.

We were planning to foil grill some fresh cod, and I had to run an unexpected errand as dinner hour approached. She offered to make a basil butter to slather on the fish, and the rest is history.

If you want a nondairy version of this glorious concoction, margarine would be a reasonable substitution for the butter. We have used this elixir in a number of ways; it is quite addictive.
Here’s the formula:

Magic basil butter
Makes about 1 cup
2 sticks butter, softened
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice of 1/2 lemon
12 large basil leaves, chopped
Generous pinch salt

Mix all ingredients well.
If using within two hours, leave at room temperature; if longer, store in the fridge.

Foil-grilled cod
with magic basil butter
Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds fresh cod
at room temperature
1 lemon, sliced
Salt and pepper to season fish
1/3 cup magic basil butter

Using heavy-duty aluminum foil make a double layer packet to hold each piece of fish.
Line each packet with slices of lemon.
Lay the fish on top of the lemons and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Spread the fish with magic basil butter and loosely close the packets.
Place the packets on a hot grill away from direct heat and cook for about 12 minutes until the fish flakes and is opaque throughout.

Fresh pasta
with magic basil butter
Serves 4

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1 pound fresh pasta
1/2 cup magic basil butter
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Reserve ¼ cup cooking water and drain the pasta well.

Toss the pasta with Magic Basil Butter and sprinkle a bit of the pasta cooking water over it to spread butter thoroughly.
Top with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Grilled bread
with magic basil butter
Serves 4 to 6

1 loaf of your favorite crusty bread
Olive oil for brushing
1/2 cup magic basil butter

Cut the bread lengthwise and brush it lightly with olive oil.
Place the cut-side down on a hot grill and toast.
Remove the bread from the grill and spread it with magic basil butter. Slice and serve immediately.
>>Note: If you are not activating your grill, you can still make this delicious bread. Just omit the olive oil and spread the magic basil butter directly on the bread. Heat it in a 350-degree oven until just toasted; slice and serve. PJC

Keri White writes for the Jewish Exponent, an affiliated publication of the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle.

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