Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tarragon Pistachio Butter and Beer Making, Part I

Tarragon Pistachio Butter
One of our Chanukah presents this year was a beer maker which, until now, has sat patiently above our kitchen cabinets, waiting to be used. Sunday night, after spring teased us with a 60F-day on Friday (only to shoot back down to a wintry 20F over the weekend), we decided it was time. Since neither the vegetarian nor I know very much about beer or beer-making, we invited one of his best friends from college, E, over to join in the merriment. We made West Coast Pale Ale, set everything in a (mostly) empty cabinet and began the more-immediate task of making dinner.

I've been on a sweet potato kick lately and, while looking for yummy sweet potato recipes in the folder in which I keep all the recipes I've stumbled upon and plan to make, I excitedly lighted on the word "sweet". It was followed, however, not by the word "potato" but instead by "pistachio".  Ah, yes! The Sweet Pistachio Butter from 101 Cookbooks--a vegetarian "healthy recipe journal" that I cannot recommend highly enough--that I had saved as a way to use up the pistachios from my Cornish Hens (and Tofuwith 
An (almost-set) Table
Cranberry Paste. (On a side note, one of my former college roommates, Miss Julie, a San Franciscan, cooks from there incessantly and was actually the one who first turned me on to the site.) Heidi made her Pistachio Butter for crepes but I, with my waning sweet tooth, wanted something more savory, to serve atop a protein. I stared for a while at the picture of Heidi's brilliantly green butter and decided to replace the sweetener with an herb. What herb? Something light, with a sweet taste and a loud flavor--tarragon! I often think of tarragon with chicken, but instead I paired it with Salmon Roasted with Herbs (from How to Cook Everything) for E and me and Tofu Roasted with Herbs for the vegetarian. The tarragon created just the right amount of sweetness to balance out the flavor of the pistachios and paired beautifully with the richness of the salmon. It also matched quite nicely with the delicate flavor of the tofu, I was told. And, to satisfy this sweet potato obsession, we had Roasted Yam Puree with Brown Butter--decadent and delightful. There was also a Cherry Tomato-Caper Salad and Hummus with CapersAnd, while I would 
recommend a Viognier as a wine-pairing, we stayed on our beer theme and instead 
had Long Haul Session Ale with the Hummus and Morimoto Soba Ale with the Salmon, Tofu and Tarragon 
Pistachio Butter. I highly recommend both, especially the Morimoto. Enjoy!

Tarragon Pistachio Butter

  • Salmon and Tofu
    1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup pistachios, shelled and crushed
  • 1 bunch fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1/2 cup water, hot (from the tap is fine)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 pinches Hawaiian salt
First peel almonds: pour boiling water into a small bowl and add almonds. Allow to sit at least 1 minute, then remove them one at a time (go for those whose peels are the most shriveled first) and peel, rub, whatever to remove.

Place peeled almonds into food processor along with pistachios, tarragon, hot water and garlic. Pulse until all one consistency (add more water if you'd like it to be wetter), then add salt and pulse once or twice more to incorporate. Serve, atop salmon, tofu or whatever you'd like. Makes more than enough for 3 people's dinner. Enjoy!

Links to other tarragon pistachio butter noshes:


Barbara said...

Lovely to see you turn up on my blog. I love pistachios . This sounds delicious.

Asha said...

Pistachio butter sounds heavenly!:)

Lady Amalthea said...

Thanks, ladies! This was absolutely divine.

Had some leftovers (with sliced chicken apple sausages) on a sandwich the other day and was *very* pleased with the results.