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Reflections on brown butter


Fat Guy
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The advice, "Don't let the butter brown," is often given, and is surely appropriate in many cases. It seems, however, that many people have internalized this direction as a commandment against browning butter, ever.

Yet, brown butter, called beurre noisette in French because of its hazelnut-like aroma, is delicious. It's the basis for wonderful sauces (e.g., lemon, capers and brown butter on fish) and is also delicious standing alone.

I thought about brown butter today as I was cooking an omelette. Typically, one lets the butter froth a bit and, as the frothing subsides, the eggs go in. I decided today to use extra butter and to let it go way past frothing to browning. I added the eggs to the brown butter and proceeded as usual. When the omelette was done, I plated it and drizzled the remaining brown butter over it.

It was amazing! A whole new dimension in omelettey goodness! And efficient -- no need to make a brown butter sauce; it's just a byproduct of the cooking method.

So, I thought we could use this topic to celebrate the greatness of brown butter, share recipes and techniques, etc.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Fat Guy - count me in as one of those who let the butter brown. I have always known that delicious nutty flavor it imparts to the food, esp. omelettes. Thanks for spreading the word.

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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Browned butter with asparagus

Browned butter and pecans or walnuts with broccoli or zucchini

Browned butter and toasted almonds with Brie on crackers, or, better, on toasted baby bagels

Browned butter in a simple powdered sugar buttercream

Browned butter garlic bread

Browned butter in butterscotch pudding

Almost anywhere. It's one of my "secret ingredients" although I haven't posted on that thread.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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I have been a fan of brown butter for more years than I care to count... Its great on pasta with pecorino and freshly grilled brats...

The only other thing I have noticed is that butter ,these days ,does not brown as well as it did 15 or 20 ye,ars ago. I have tried adding "milk solids" in the form of buttermilk or cream to it but still dont get the killer rich taste that one used to get...Any one else have that problem???

Bud

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In his book The Joy of Coffee, Corby Kummer has a recipe for Praline Crisp cookies that calls for browning butter and then re-solidifying it before creaming it with the sugar. The browned butter makes these cookies so wonderful that I've copied it for several other recipes.

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Ahh, nostalgia. When I was growing up, Christmas Eve was spent by the entire extended family at my paternal grandparents, and the main course was pirogies. My grandmother would make two types, potato and cheese; and sauerkraut. The only condiment for these little pillows of deliciousness, was the topic of this thread. She would let the butter simmer slowly, and the result was a sweet caramelization without any burned or bitter taste.

Nowadays, my grandparents have passed on, and my aunts and uncles now make the pirogies, however although they are great, they aren't the same. I too have made batches using the family recipe, but they are only a mere shadow of my grandmother's masterpieces.

So brown your butter, but do it slowly. As far as I'm concerned, you're carrying on a great family tradition!!!

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In his book The Joy of Coffee, Corby Kummer has a recipe for Praline Crisp cookies that calls for browning butter and then re-solidifying it before creaming it with the sugar. The browned butter makes these cookies so wonderful that I've copied it for several other recipes.

Janet, I have an oatmeal cookie recipe that calls for toasting oats in browned butter. These are the best ever.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I thought about brown butter today as I was cooking an omelette. Typically, one lets the butter froth a bit and, as the frothing subsides, the eggs go in. I decided today to use extra butter and to let it go way past frothing to browning. I added the eggs to the brown butter and proceeded as usual. When the omelette was done, I plated it and drizzled the remaining brown butter over it.

Brown butter is simple and delicious. Great with fish, and my go-to sauce (with sage) for gnocchi.

The reason, I think, that people don't often do brown butter for omelettes is that we have this aesthetic idea that an omelette should be pale yellow and shouldn't be browned at all.

--

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I like to get my butter nice and brown before tossing in the rice for a minute and then adding the water/stock to make the best 'steamed' rice. Also good as a different base for risotto.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I like to get my butter nice and brown before tossing in the rice for a minute and then adding the water/stock to make the best 'steamed' rice. Also good as a different base for risotto.

I imagine it would be an excellent base for a sweet risotto, something I've been meaning to do for ages...maybe this week!

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Almost always brown the butter. The rule should be against blackening it!

Especially for things like pancakes ... the options are 1) use something with a higher smoke point but no buttery goodness; 2) use clarified butter (I'd rather reserve it for when I really need it, like higher sautéing temps); 3) let the butter brown.

Seems like an easy choice to me. And besides, beurre noisette is delicious.

For what it's worth, I also usually make clarified butter with a beurre noisette method (cooking the butter until the water's all evaporated, and the milk solids are brown, then skimming the scum). It's easier than the restaurant method when you're making small quantities. And again, it's delicious.

Notes from the underbelly

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Me, I loves the brown butter. I also love cold butter and melted butter and whipped butter. Additionally I like salted butter whipped butter and unsalted butter. I like butter from Ireland, Denmark and Vermont. I also like Land o Lakes butter but I don't know where it comes from.

I was working alongside a young german cook making crepes to accompany a venison dish. He called them craps. Then he called himself the crapmaster. I nearly snorted into the pile of cooked craps that I was carefully folding into perfect triangles. I'm sorry but the guy was driving me up the wall. Anyway he browned the butter that went into the craps. It made a big difference. I now add browned butter to my dutch babies too.

I totally agree on browned butter with the omelette. But for me it's a tricky thing because I have a moral objection to browned eggs. You must move swiftly and with great care. Just yesterday I happened across a recipe (it's the first one in the book) called "Eggs au beurre noir"in Rex Stout's fan-f**king-tastic "Nero Wolfe Cook Book." He advocates pouring clarified browned butter over shirred eggs. When I get around to shirring an egg, I'll try this.

Two other places browned butter shows up that I like very much:

1. Prune's kerchief pasta with ham, poached egg and bitter greens.

1.a.oh yeah and also Prune's radish and trout roe with browned butter.

2. Asparagus with cepes, dressed with the browned butter.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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Browned butter with asparagus

Browned butter and pecans or walnuts with broccoli or zucchini

Browned butter and toasted almonds with Brie on crackers, or, better, on toasted baby bagels

Browned butter in a simple powdered sugar buttercream

Browned butter garlic bread

Browned butter in butterscotch pudding

Almost anywhere.  It's one of my "secret ingredients" although I haven't posted on that thread.

hey! :shock: why not? good one. do tell on the buttercream - do you add it to whole butter, or brown, chill and then beat?

from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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Browned butter with asparagus

Browned butter and pecans or walnuts with broccoli or zucchini

Browned butter and toasted almonds with Brie on crackers, or, better, on toasted baby bagels

Browned butter in a simple powdered sugar buttercream

Browned butter garlic bread

Browned butter in butterscotch pudding

Almost anywhere.  It's one of my "secret ingredients" although I haven't posted on that thread.

hey! :shock: why not? good one. do tell on the buttercream - do you add it to whole butter, or brown, chill and then beat?

Nothing fancy..I just brown the butter in the pan, beat in several cups of powdered sugar, a bit of vanilla and several tablespoons heavy cream. I don't measure, but usually start with 1 stick unsalted butter. The frosting has a sticky texture at first. No need to get it stiff as long as it won't run off the cake, because the butter will get hard when it cools.

My favorite uses: with toasted walnuts on banana cake, and on peanut butter cupcakes. I always refrigerate the cake, and keep cupcakes in the freezer.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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