Is there anything as unbelievably simple and delicious as brown butter? Rivaled only by the aroma of caramelizing onions perhaps, the sweet perfume of butter browning on the stove is otherworldly. The nutty, caramel-y sister of regular ole' melted butter works as a total game-changer in almost any recipe, especially pairing well with the fall flavors we're cooking up lately. Plus, it's super easy to prepare!
To make brown butter, melt butter over medium heat on the stove. A light-colored pan is helpful in order to see the browning progress, but if you're feeling confident a cast iron skillet can impart a nice flavor as well. Whisk or swirl around the melting goodness to ensure even browning. The butter will begin to foam up a bit, then turn from pale yellow to light brown to a golden hue. It's a fine line to almost burning the butter (resulting in something not quite as delicious!), so when it starts to smell nutty and fragrant, take the pan off the heat.
Once finished, transfer to a container to cool or use directly in your recipe. Avoid the little dregs in the pan as much as possible when pouring, although we find we don't mind them much. If there are a lot, or you find them very bothersome, strain the butter through a fine sieve.
Butter can be kept in the fridge for a week or so, and often I'll make a bit extra even if I'm not sure how it will get used up. We always find a spot for it — smeared with honey on toast, poured into coarsely mashed potatoes, or thrown in to a spur of the moment weeknight baking adventure.
The possibilities are endless, but here are three of my favorite recipes, both savory and sweet, using this flavorful ingredient:
What are your favorite ways to use brown butter?
(Image: Kate Gagnon)