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I don’t often make clarified butter. Usually it’s when I have extra butter leftover from holiday baking or I’ll see something that would be delicious fried in butter.
Clarified butter is butter that is cooked to remove all of the water with the milk solids removed. A little longer, and you get ghee. Why do you want to do this, you ask? Because if you’ve ever tried to cook something over high heat with butter, you may notice that it burns pretty quickly. That’s the milk solids. They burn at much lower temperature. But when you remove them, you also increase the smoke point of your butter. So you get rich, buttery flavor, but no smoke.
Now, I was attempting to make a simple clarified butter, but wasn’t paying attention and my heat was turned too high, and by the time I could rescue it, it was pretty browned. Like, I thought for sure it was burnt. But I strained it anyway because I do love browned butter. I left it on the counter and a few hours later, had this amazingly nutty smelling, caramel colored butter.
What can you do with this? Well, so far, I’ve made popcorn, French toast, and pan seared some salmon. Browned butter does have a nutty, almost dessert like flavor, so you may not use it anywhere you would butter, but it’s generally really good with winter squash, curries, cauliflower or pan seared scallops.
This is easy to make, but it takes awhile, so requires patience. Store your butter in a jar in the fridge and use liberally. Then make some more.
Accidental Browned Butter Ghee
This easy to make browned butter ghee is perfect for popcorn, veggies, or anywhere you want deliciously nutty butter flavor without the smoke.
Cut the butter into cubes and put in a saucepan. Melt over medium heat.
When melted, turn the heat down to low, and let it cook. It will start to foam, and as it does, you want to skim that foam carefully from the top using a metal spoon. Try not to stir it.
Eventually, it will begin to bubble and pop and simmer. Let it simmer, continuing to skim as much of that foam off as you can.
It should start browning. If it starts too deep brown while still simmering vigorously, turn the heat down. Your heat should be as low as you can get it while it’s still simmering.
Once it stops simmering, you can either turn the heat off or let it go. The longer you cook it, the more browned it will become. While more may be better, there will become a point where it is burnt, so use caution here. Skim as much of the foam as you can.
Once it smells nutty enough, and is a deep golden brown, turn off the heat. Let it cool for a few minutes.
Line a strainer with cheesecloth and place over a jar. Strain the butter through the cloth and let cool to room temperature.
Store in the fridge and use anywhere you want browned butter flavor with no smoke!