Browning butter adds nutty flavor

It's a brown butter kind of fall. That is to say, the nutty flavor and butterscotch aroma of butter that is cooked until it turns hazelnut brown are turning up on more than a few dinner plates. Making brown butter is simple: Melt unsalted butter in a small saute pan over medium heat, cooking it until the water cooks off, then turn down the heat and continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the solids turn golden brown. The whisking ensures even browning. If you have a light-colored pan, that's the one to use, as it makes it easy to see the browning.

Donna Deane writes for the Los Angeles Times, which provided the recipe analysis.



Serves 4


4 petrale sole fillets, about 3 ounces each

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1/4 cup butter, cut into small cubes, plus 1 tablespoon, divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons capers, well drained

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped parsley

Rinse the fish fillets under cold water and pat dry on paper towels. Season both sides of fish with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.


In a small nonstick skillet, reduce the sherry vinegar by half, about 30 seconds, and set aside.

In a heavy medium skillet, heat one-fourth cup of the butter over medium-low heat until melted, about 3 minutes. After the butter melts, begin whisking until it turns nut brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the butter from the heat and set it aside while preparing the fish.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter and the oil over medium heat until hot. Add the fish fillets presentation-side down in the hot skillet and brown 2 1/2 to 3 minutes on the first side, then turn and cook for 30 to 45 seconds. The fish should not be crowded in the pan; if necessary, cook the fillets in two batches.

Arrange the fish on serving plates. Sprinkle with parsley. Whisk reduced vinegar, capers and a pinch of salt and pepper into reserved brown butter and spoon over the fish.

Per serving: 225 calories, 14 grams protein, 0 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 19 grams fat, 9 grams saturated fat, 77 milligrams cholesterol, 191 milligrams sodium