I was thinking of popular French herbs when I made this recipe: chives, tarragon and marjoram, and what goes better with green herbs than lots and lots of butter? If you have fresh herbs, I highly recommend using them instead for a more pungent taste. For the most bang for your buck, however, keep dried marjoram, tarragon, and even chives on hand to flavor a variety of dishes.
Never used these French herbs before? Here’s a bit about them.
Chives are related to shallots, leeks, garlic and onions. If it’s appropriate to call an herb “pretty,” then I think chives are pretty. Their leaves are much more slender and elegant than their cousin the green onion, and their taste is delicate and mild. Chives can add a nice pop of fresh, green color to just about any savory dish, and they are available fresh year around in most grocery stores.
Tarragon is a quintessential French herb, though some people may not like its anise-like flavor, however mild. It adds a unique, savory layer of aroma that goes well with fish, poultry and egg dishes. Tarragon also tastes great added to salad vinaigrettes; allow dried tarragon to steep for a bit before serving. When using fresh tarragon, however, use a little less to avoid overpowering your dish.
Marjoram is a bit of an obscure herb, especially in American cooking. I rarely see it sold fresh at the grocery store, but you can easily find it dried. It’s also possible to buy marjoram plants to add to your herb garden in the spring. Taste-wise, I would describe it as a sweeter, more floral and milder version of oregano. I love it in potato-leek soup.
Pair this dish with sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, dry Riesling or chardonnay.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 8 boneless crappie fillets
- 1 stick salted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons chopped chives
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- Freshly cracked pepper
- Salt, to taste
- Juice of one lemon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While oven is preheating, mix softened butter, chives, tarragon, marjoram and cracked pepper in a small bowl.
- Lay a sheet of plastic wrap onto the counter and transfer the compound butter onto it. Use the wrap to form butter into a log and twist the ends together. Refrigerate to harden.
- Rinse crappie fillets under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels and lay onto a cookie sheet lined with a sheet of foil, large enough to form into a packet.
- Sprinkle salt over the fillets. Slice the herb-butter log into coins and distribute all over the fish. Fold the foil to form a packet, and then bake in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes or until fish has cooked through. Serve immediately with your favorite sides.