butter as sauce

 Butter in its various disguises is often used as a sauce.

a. melted / drawn butter.

Drawn butter is simply melted butter, with all the milk solids left in, which makes it very different from clarified butter. I use it mostly as a simple fish or seafood sauce.

When drawn butter is spiced up a bit by adding other things, it becomes compound butter.


Pic1: a stick of butter
Pic2: melted butter

b. brown butter

This is the same procedure, but one step short of clarified butter.


Beurre noisette (Fr. literally: hazelnut butter, loosely: brown butter)
is a type of warm sauce used in French cuisine. It can accompany savory foods, such as winter vegetables, pasta, fish, omelets and chicken. It is also used in making French pastry. It is notable for its deep yellow, almost brown color, and nutty scent and flavor from the heating process.


Beurre noisette may be used in its liquid state or mixed and cooled to a solid form. It has a nutty flavor and is particularly included in the batters for madeleines and financiers.

If beurre noisette is not mixed after preparation but separated into the firm (protein) and liquid (fat) components, the latter is the type of clarified butter known as ghee in South Asia and samna in the Middle East countries.


Beurre Noire  (Fr. black butter)
is the same process, but the butter is cooked longer until the milk solids turn a very dark brown. As soon as this happens, acid is carefully added to the hot butter, usually lemon juice or a type of vinegar. Some recipes also add a sprig of parsley, which is removed from the hot butter before the acid is added. It is typically served with eggs, fish, or certain types of vegetables.


Pic3+4: brown butters


This is what you need for 1/2 cup:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter


c. clarified butter

2016-04-06 a.o.

Clarified butter is butter from which the water and milk solids have been removed. Only the butterfat remains, meaning it is no longer an emulsion, just pure fat.

Clarified butter has a higher smoking point than regular butter. Instead of the butter solids burning at around 350 °F, clarified butter can be heated to 485 °F before breaking down.

Clarified butter is used to make Hollandaise, is served on fish and steak, and used in many other recipes. However, it isn't always necessary to go through this entire process. Melted butter with some herbs or spices is already a wonderful sauce even without clarification.


This is what you need for 2 cups:

  • 1 lb. unsalted butter
Pic5: unlike melted butter, clarified butter is  transparent  



Pic6: melted or drawn butter
Pic7: skim
Pic8: refrigerate
  • Cut the butter in smaller pieces of about 1 tbsp.
  • Melt the butter slowly over low heat for 15 minutes. (Pic2)
  • Do not shake or stir.
  • Scoop off the milk protein that come floating to the top. (Pic3)
  • Continue to heat slowly.
  • When the bottom solids turn brown and the fat golden with a smell of toffees, remove from the heat.
  • Rest 5-10 minutes to cool to a safe handling temperature.
  • To remove the bottom layer with impurities:
    • Pour off the clear top layer through a filter without disturbing the bottom layer.
    • OR refrigerate the butter. When solid, scrape or wash away the bottom layer. (Pic4)
  • Store the ghee in a clean sealable container.
  • Store at room temperature for up to 3 months.
  • Refrigerate or freeze.