If anything has romanced me entirely, bewitched me and kept me hostage, it is brown butter. All you do to make it is caramelize a pat of butter, moving it constantly to keep it from burning but allowing it to toast up into a dark brown smooth sauce that is perfectly sweet from the lactose in butter turning into, essentially, caramel. There is nothing better… Lots of things better FOR you, but nothing that tastes more rich and decadent!
My first encounter with it was with a banana bread recipe – i heart eating has a scrumptious version. The brown butter made a great complement to my version of banana bread, which uses mostly fruit for sweetener and thus isn’t naturally super sweet. It doesn’t bother me as much as other butter applications, because without that glaze I’d still put butter on warm banana bread… such is my weakness. The glaze, however, does satisfy me to the point of not needing another layer of butter!
Recently, I had the above-pictured meal, and the brown butter was a treat. A sprig of crispy sage garnished a pile of ravioli filled with butternut squash; a little parmesan, some pomegranate arils for tang and color, and olive oil were all it needed. I knew that butternut squash was a sweet vegetable, but I think the brown butter sauce brought it out and made me feel like I was eating one of the sweet potato casseroles that is so popular at thanksgiving, not a regular savory pasta dish at all.
If you are looking to try out brown butter, I can recommend it as a sauce for… pretty much anything? Specifically pretty much anything that could use a sweet counterpoint to some other dominant flavor, since sweet on more sweet is not usually my style. For great, step by step tips on browning butter, check out the Kitchn, which always seems to be there to help me in tricky cooking situations.
If you aren’t a butter eater, I’m always in the market for healthier sauce alternatives, so feel free to fill the comments with your favorite kinds of sauces that can be slightly less rich but still make a dish pop the way that a concentrated little amount of brown butter does. See you all tomorrow; I’ll just be over here daydreaming about that ravioli again.