The Curious Case Of Burnt Butter
Image Credit: Photo: Sorin Gheorghita

Have you seen those fancy shots of brown sauce on fish fillets or chicken? Well, French food is always elegantly presented. But did you know it isn’t really sauce but butter that is cooked with sliced garlic, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. It is called beurre noir in French, and it has a rich depth of flavour. Beurre means butter, and noir means black. There are also another butter sauces such as beurre noisette and beurre blanc.

We are often told that one needs to remember these terms like reduction and emulsification, and not knowing about them would be a grave mistake. You probably need a sheet next to you, with the meanings of each of these terms so that you can understand exactly what you are doing. But you also have to ensure that you are quick. If you think that stirring the butter is enough, think again. Burning the butter is a complex process. One needs to know when to turn up the heat, or simmer it down. It’s a process that one has to repeat over and over again to understand.  

It is a French thing, and while we all try and learn to cook like the French while we have free time, the important thing to remember is not to give up. Let’s start with an easy one — beurre noisette. Here are 3 tips that will surely come in handy when you are trying to make beurre noisette — 

- Burnt butter should froth. This happens when the moisture in the butter turns into a froth.  

- When the butter turns brown, it means that the sugar deposits in the butter are starting to caramelise. At this point, the butter stops boiling. 

- The butter will also start to give off a hazelnut aroma. This happens when burnt butter is ready!

Most importantly, while browning butter, it is absolutely crucial to keep your eyes on the pan. Otherwise, you may be left with black butter. We hope that these tips are useful!  

Aren't you in awe of the butter that takes on a delicious golden-brown colour? Burnt butter is often seen as a bad mistake. But it can be used to one’s advantage. When spread on a warm toast, burnt butter has a luxurious aroma.