Recipe: Warm Walnut Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Recipe: Warm Walnut Brown Butter Vinaigrette

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Creative Studio
Jun 29, 2018
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(Image credit: Christopher Broe)

Vinaigrettes and vegetables are a predictable pairing, but they can be so much more than balsamic and baby field greens. There's nothing wrong with the staples, of course, but eat them day after day and things get a little blah. With a handful of everyday ingredients, you can whip up a rich, tangy dressing that'll add the perfect amount of pep to everything that comes off the grill this summer.

Brown butter boasts toasty flavors on its own, but California walnuts are the star of this flavor-packed dressing. Blended together, the walnuts add a rich, nutty earthiness that makes for a hearty, savory dressing. Toasting the nuts first really boosts their natural flavors and deepens their crunch and color. (And, while you're at it, toast a few extra to sprinkle over the top.) The dressing is finished off with fresh herbs and punchy mustard and vinegar to keep it light and bright.

Warm Walnut Brown Butter Vinaigrette: Watch the Video

What to do with this nutty, buttery sauce? It adds the perfect amount of richness to grilled seasonal vegetables. Asparagus, summer squashes, and eggplant are no-brainers, or try grilling a few surprise hits like tomatoes and even sturdy lettuces like little gem or romaine. We pile it high for a show-stopping platter perfect for summertime entertaining, but choosing one or two makes for a quick and simple weeknight side dish.

(Image credit: Christopher Broe)

Don't shelve it once the weather cools down! Walnuts are easily found year-round. Late season corn, plus cold weather favorites like roasted cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, or steamed greens all benefit from a bath of a buttery walnut dressing. And this vinaigrette is exactly the dip those early spring artichokes need. Frankly, we're hard-pressed to think of a veggie that isn't improved by the warm flavors of brown butter and toasted walnuts.

(Image credit: Christopher Broe)

Looking to round out your dinner table? The vinaigrette works on so much more than just your vegetables. Chicken and lean fish practically beg for a butter-based sauce. Stir it into a grain bowl, toss it with pasta, or spoon over boiled potatoes. No one's telling you to toss out that bottle of balsamic...just don't be surprised to find it at the back of the cupboard at the end of the season.

(Image credit: Christopher Broe)

Warm Walnut Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Makes 1/2 cup

  • 6 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup

    toasted California walnut halves (about 1 ounce)

  • 2 tablespoons

    chopped flat leaf parsley leaves

  • 1 tablespoon

    white wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a small light-colored saucepan or frying pan over medium-low heat, swirling occasionally to ensure even heating. After the butter melts and foams, watch for the color to change from yellow to golden brown and for the aroma to smell nutty, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately pour into a wide-mouth glass jar or heat-proof cup wide enough to accomodate an immersion blender. Set aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

Add the California Walnuts, parsley, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper to the brown butter. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth and emulsified.

Serve immediately over grilled or roasted vegetables, as a dressing on green or pasta salads, atop grain bowls, or spooned over chicken or fish.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The brown butter can made up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Melt the brown butter over low heat before making the vinaigrette.

Storage: The vinaigrette is best served immediately, but leftovers may be refrigerated for up to 1 day. You may need to blend again with additional mustard before using leftovers.

For simply delicious recipes and more, visit walnuts.org.

This post was created by the Kitchn Creative Studio and is sponsored by California Walnuts.
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