Comfort Food · Food · Holiday · Sides · Vegetables · Vegetarian

Making love to your taste buds.

Brown butter is a labor of love. It takes time and a keen eye and practically continuous stirring to get it right. It can go from perfection to disaster in mere seconds. But, if you are able to bring the butter right to the edge of Blackened-Butter Abyss, when it’s exquisitely nutty and a rich brown, whatever you are serving will benefit from it in scores. Because we all know butter is tasty.  But when you times it by ten (which is how I rate brown butter), it’s not just tasty, it’s sexy, it’s… making love to your taste buds.

And, though every browned butter recipe is special, this one is even more so.  It takes dainty (otherwise a bit boring) broccolini and envelopes it in a luscious shallot-garlic-and-pecan brown butter sauce. Yes. Pecan brown butter.  And yes, it is as good as you can imagine.  The whole dish is nutty and buttery and garlicky.  And it’s down-right pretty on the plate—make sure not to take off too much of the slender broccolini stems, those long legs look (and taste) beautiful.

I found the recipe in the latest Bon Appetit (I’ve had some great luck with Bon Appetit recipes in the past few months—though it may be Gourmet’s red-headed stepchild) and served it at Thanksgiving.  It can be made hours ahead and re-heated on the stove-top when you are about to eat—so if you were thinking of not serving this for the holidays, think again.  I’ll be remaking it for Christmas… and New Year’s… and President’s Day… and whenever I can find the excuse.

Broccolini with Pecan Brown Butter

adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2008

serves 6

If you are nervous about making brown butter, here is a good color guide for you.

  • 5 bunches broccolini, cut off at the very bottom, hard part of the stems
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter + 1 tablespoon if making ahead and reheating
  • 5 shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup pecans, crushed
  • kosher salt

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add broccolini and cook for about 3-4 minutes.  Drain and put in ice water.

In a large skillet, add butter and melt.  Add shallots, garlic, pecans and cook until shallots are soft.  Turn the burner to medium-high and begin to brown the butter, stirring constantly, until it turns a rich brown color and has a nutty aroma (this is a little hard to figure because of the pecans).  When you are there, add the broccolini, reduce the heat, and toss gently until heated through and done to your liking.  Salt generously with kosher salt.  Serve hot.  If reheating later, leave broccoli in the skillet you used, then heat it up over a low heat with the extra butter until hot—about 15 minutes.

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25 thoughts on “Making love to your taste buds.

    1. Thanks, Wine Blog!

      Nicisme: Thanks, and yes it does—would be perfect for kids who don’t like broccoli.

      Kitt: Yes, surely with green beans… or really anything, for that matter.

  1. Naturally, I love the title but brown butter is tops! You know you’ve perfected it when you make have it with some plain. boiled spagetti.

    Good show in squeezing out all you can out of your butter.

  2. I’ve heard of people who couldn’t function without a bit of brown butter in the fridge for handy use. But, with this beautiful broccolini, I may just have the need to try it for myself. Thanks for both the sharing and the encouragement in your post!

  3. ha! bon app totally is gourmet’s red-headed stepchild! there have been a few gems in the last few issues, but it still is mostly a step up from rachel ray sometimes. but this one is a really nice dish. we’re always trying to think of new ways to do broccoli rabe!

    1. Jonathan: Yeah, you are right about Bon App. Though if you tweak the recipes, sometimes you find real winners. Had a butternut squash risotto with maple syrup and bacon and parmigianno a while back and it was serious. Come to think of it, I’ve even had some Rachel Ray recipes that turned out delicious after some tweaking. 🙂

  4. Yum…I’ve always been afraid of blackening the butter, but this looks so delicious. I’ve actually felt that bon appetit had many more appealing recipes than gourmet lately…

    1. Bren: glad you agree… food should always be sexy, even if it’s a pot of beans!

      Christie: Oh that sounds delicious.

      Maggie: I’ve been feeling like that too lately. I haven’t been finding any great recipes in the last issue or so of Gourmet. But that issue from a few months ago on Paris… that one was great. If you have it, you’ve got to try the New Coq au Vin. 🙂

  5. I know! I actually save the magazines! They are taking up so much room and, honestly, I usually go on epicurious because it’s easier to find the recipe I have in mind. 🙂

  6. You’ve really sold me on this brown butter idea. I always hear about it and I’m sure I’ve tasted it before but I’ve never tried making it. It’s incredible how much better butter can be when simply heated correctly…

  7. I have a subscription to BA, and have really enjoyed it, but probably won’t renew for that “hard copy” reason. Epicurious takes care of that. I think I’ll always tend to dig their recipes though. They have some good stuff.

    And brown butter is aaaaawesome. I only made it once and poured it over scallops with diced very fresh tomatoes this summer, but wow. I totally skipped this recipe when I was reading the issue, but now I may reconsider.

  8. I’ve never tried browned butter, surprisingly. This recipe looks so delicious and so easy to produce that maybe that will be part of my weekend supper.

    1. Nick: You probably have tasted it – brown butter is just a bit nuttier and warmer than regular butter, it’s not worlds away really.

      Sarah: Oh it’s so good. And yeah, it has been about 6 solid issues, huh?

      Melissa: I don’t think I’ll be renewing either (unless I get a really good deal.) especially now that there is a BA.com (not all recipes are on epicurious).

      Emily: Thanks for stopping by! Now go and try browned butter!!

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