Monday, July 14, 2008

Buerre Noisette

Ha, and you thought those green things were called asparagus! Well, they are and those little brown bits you see in between the very generous sprinkling of freshly ground pepper are the results of browning butter (buerre noisette). The French words for brown butter are so much more interesting, don't you think? Noisette is hazelnut and that shade of brown is what we are attempting to achieve with this simple sauce preparation.

As I was trying to indulge only one (moi) with a slightly decadent Sunday lunch, I used a mere two tablespoons of full cream butter. The recipe or technique can be increased proportionately to serve more. Heat the butter gently in a small skillet set over medium low heat. Let the butter melt through stages. While this is a simple preparation it does require a bit of watching once the butter starts to separate and the bits start to brown. It's amazing how quickly beautiful brown butter can become black, burned butter! The goal here is to allow the butter to acquire a lovely hazelnut-brown shade. As the butter reaches this point of perfection, add the juice of half a lemon and a pinch of sea salt, swirling as you go. Then remove the pan immediately from the heat and pour over the intended food.

Buerre noisette is fabulous over a piece of mild white fish or splendid to grace a lightly steamed green veggie as I did with this young asparagus. A few, rich calories for Sunday lunch is a mild indulgence, considering the plate of greens graced in butter was my entire lunch, accompanied by a crisp, cold glass of Riesling.
Just following the healthful admonition to "eat more greens"! Try it, it's swell.

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