Summer’s Secret Weapon: Garlic Basil Lemon Butter (Aka Magic Basil Butter)


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 non-dairy 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 ½ 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

pounds fresh cod at room temperature

1 lemon, sliced

Salt and pepper to season fish

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

1 pound fresh pasta

½ cup magic butter

¼ 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

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.

1 loaf your favorite crusty bread

Olive oil for brushing

½ cup Magic Basil Butter (approximately)

Cut the bread lengthwise and brush it lightly with olive oil.

Place the cut-side down on a hot grill and toast, watching the bread carefully to avoid burning it.

Remove the bread from the grill and spread it with Magic Basil Butter.

Slice and serve the bread immediately.


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