Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Browned Butter

It only takes a few minutes and the flavor that you'll have to enjoy with lobster is unbelievable. Brown butter adds nutty, toasted flavors to sweet and savory dishes. Trust me, there is nothing to it!

www.seriouseats.com provides great written step by step instructions which I'm sharing with you here.

First of all, melt your butter in a light-colored saucepan so you can check the degree of brownness you're getting.

Butter consists of clear yellowish butterfat, water, and milk proteins. When browning butter, those proteins are what's actually browning. The heavy bottom ensures the butter heats evenly while the light color allows you to monitor the butter's color as it browns. Heat the butter gently over low heat it has melted completely.

Butter contains a good 13 to 17% water, which has to go before the fat's temperature can rise enough to brown the milk proteins. Once the butter reaches a temperature of 212°F, the water in the butter starts to evaporate much more quickly. As a result, the butter will start to bubble and splatter dramatically. I usually place a splatter screen over the pan at this point, though swirling the pan and stirring constantly to make sure any and all bubbles get released will work as well. 

If you're confident, you can raise the temperature to medium or medium-high at this point, though higher temperatures means your butter will go from perfect to burnt much faster. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan to prevent the butter from catching and burning.  

After about five minutes the butter will start to foam. This is when you want to watch the butter like a hawk, stirring it around with your spatula to prevent the milk solids from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

You can tell the butter is browning because dark golden flecks (browned milk solids) will appear in the melted butter, which will start to smell nutty and toasty.

The foam can make it hard to see if the butter is browned to your liking, so to check the color, try clearing away some of the foam with a spoon or take the pan off the heat and spoon a little of the butter onto a white plate.

Once you're happy with the level of browning, pour the butter—browned milk solids and all—into a heatproof bowl and stir it for one or two minutes to cool it down. If you were to leave the butter in the pan, the residual heat would continue to cook it, and the butter might scorch from a perfect brown to a burnt-tasting black.  Also, keep in mind that only the milk solids turn a dark golden brown, not the butter itself. The fat will be darker as well, but not as dramatically as the milk solids. 

The last step is to let it cool slightly and pour (or spoon it through a fine mesh strainer to remove most of the solids.

Now you are ready to spoon over steamed vegetables, cooked pasta, or as we're going to use it tonight, spooned into dipping bowls for lobster tails!


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