Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Whisk to the Rescue

Browning butter: it sounds simple but the task often frustrated me. Let us not enumerate the pounds of butter I watched turn from pale tan to bitter black. Let us further not enumerate the attendant curse words. When I discovered an article in Gourmet in which the author suggested watching for the butter to start bubbling and roiling and then whisking the hell out of it, I figured I had nothing to lose but yet another stick of butter.
It worked like a charm.
Now I am the Queen of Perfectly Browned Butter. Bring me your steamed lobster, your fish fillets, your broccolini yearning to be free. I lift my whisk beside the heated pan.

Is there some technical reason why this works? Beats me. Perhaps it’s just a case of making the cook stay pan-side and attentive. I care not for Alton Brown-like explanations; I care only that luscious, nutty-brown butter is now reliably in my repertoire.

Call brown butter by its French name – beurre noisette -- and combine it with ground almonds, egg whites, sugar and flour and you’re ready to bake the sublime little French teacakes called financiers. You’ll find a foolproof recipe on one of my favorite food blogs: “In the Kitchen and On the Road with Dorie” and in her book “Paris Sweets.” Be warned: Reading Greenspan’s blog is as addictive as eating financiers.


lmc said...

i love browned butter with one of our favorite meals - fresh dungeness crab and steamed artichokes.

i brown it properly about once every 20 times and will try this!

mikki said...

What does browning the butter do? Make it taste different? Sorry if that is a dumb question, I knnow nothing of food.

Also what is diff between this and ghee?

Casey said...

Browning the butter gives it a rich, nutty flavor.
Ghee is clarified butter- butter melted and with the milk solids strained off.

mamele said...

I'm quite sure my husband, harold alton mcgee brown, could explain the chemical reaction. AT LENGTH.

i was terrified to eat beurre noisette for years, because i thought it contained hazelnuts. j'etais une dumbasse.

prunella said...

browned butter is so good. i think we need a cocktail that uses it -- maybe a hot brown buttered rum.

Anonymous said...

Julia Moskin quoting Dore's brownie recipe and other brownie recipes nearly got a letter from me for impugning Pecans. "Walnuts are fine, Pecans are pushing it!". Philistine!

Thanks for the technique on brown butter and the link for Dore's blog.

Casey said...

Dorie's blog is fabulous.