Sometimes you stumble upon treasures by accident. Maybe you step on a heads-up quarter while walking down the street. Or perhaps you find a great deal on your dream Wusthof knife set (Anybody want to spring for that one?). Occasionally, it’s as easy as accidentally making brown butter. Many people purposely set a stick of butter in a shallow pan over medium heat and cook it slowly and lovingly, stirring often of course, until the milk solids separate and sink to the bottom, and the resulting final product is a golden brown pan of foamy butter with a nutty aroma. Or you can do this unexpectedly when you pop a stick of butter in a low oven to melt, forget that it’s in there and pull it out once you smell something delightful yet unintentional. That, friends, is indeed what happened this time. The ceramic dish filled to the brim with this complex pool of caramel-colored, toasted butter was the jumping board for several new recipes. And today, you’ll see just what all the fuss is about.
We could call this a ‘how to’ post if you like, but making your own brown butter (also known as buerre noisette) is so simple, it almost seems odd to try to school you. Just a few tips:
1.) Use unsalted butter to better control the final flavor.
2.) If you use anything higher than medium heat, watch the butter a bit closely as it can burn before you know it.
3.) Once you achieve the light amber color, remove from heat and stir to encourage cooling. If left over heat too long, your butter will go from brown to black in seconds (the Frenchies call that beurre noir). The flavor is completely different, but it works for egg and fish dishes.
4.) Use said brown butter with wild abandon. Almost any recipe that calls for butter will benefit from brown butter.
5.) Store any leftover, cooled brown butter in an air-tight container.
As usual, if we need assistance with ideas, we can always pop over to Twitter for a little help. A couple of bright bulbs suggested drizzling it over fish or shrimp, another piped up with Rice Krispie treats, three folks screamed out ice cream, and one hilariously suggested pouring it into shot glasses. That may have been the brightest bulb in the bunch! All jokes aside, there were so many ways to go with this lovely batch of brown butter, and the last few weeks have been a testament to that fact. There are new photos on our Facebook page detailing the recent foray into the land of sexed up butter. Take a look. If there’s a particular recipe you want us to put on the site out of that album, pipe up! In the meantime, you can always start your own trials with this one.
Mahi with Brown Butter Sage Cream Sauce – Serves 4
1 pound mahi mahi fillets
2 tablespoons brown butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 large sage leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup cream
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to season the fish
1. Heat butter over medium heat and stir in garlic, being sure it does not burn.
2. Add the sage leaves and continue to cook until sage begins to crisp slightly, approximately 1 minutes.
3. Add the cream and salt and mix well. Cook until the cream thickens slightly, approximately 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat once done.
4. As the sauce reduces, heat a swirl of olive oil in a wide pan over medium high heat. Lightly season both sides of the fish with salt, then add them to the pan. Cook until the flesh is opaque, approximately 2-3 minutes per side.
5. Spoon the sauce over the fish fillets upon serving.
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Click HERE for the printable recipe.