Browned butter (beurre noisette), is having its moment in the spotlight for good reason. Not that butter isn’t beautiful on its own, but a few minutes of carefully applied heat transforms its subtle sweet saltiness to nutty brown cheesiness, creating a rather magical sauce in the process. If you’ve ever bathed your palate in the beauty of sole meunier, you’ve experienced the flavor punch of browned butter. Ditto financier cakes—nothing more than almond flour, browned butter, and egg whites, but powerfully rich and lovely. As far as I can tell, everything is made better with browned butter (popcorn!), so keep this simple technique tucked in the back of your hungry mind for fast, impressive meals.
As special as butternut squash ravioli with sage browned butter is, keep in mind that the sauce alone can turn a simple bowl of spaghetti into restaurant-worthy fare…in 10 minutes. Yes!
Ditto ripe berries, which lend bright, syrupy color to a panful of browned butter. Spoon over crepes, pancakes, or waffles for a memorable brunch.
Basic Browned Butter
Makes 1 cup
8 oz. unsalted butter
Place butter in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Butter will melt and then become foamy. After the foam subsides, swirl the pan a few times as brown flecks begin to appear in the butter. Keep swirling as butter grows uniformly brown, removing from heat when butter is a nice golden color. The butter should smell deliciously nutty (not burned).
Sage Browned Butter
Follow instructions above, adding 20 sage leaves to the pan after foam subsides. When butter is browned, sage leaves will be crisp.
Berry Browned Butter
Follow instructions above, adding 1 cup of berries (whole blackberries, raspberries, or small strawberries) to the pan after butter is browned. Continue swirling the pan until sauce is syrupy, about 3 minutes. Add a tablespoon of honey, if you like, and/or a tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves.