Brown Butter Tomatoes

By • August 23, 2012 • 33 Comments


633 Save

Author Notes: It happened at a picnic, while talking about whether or not a salad of tomatoes, peaches, and mozzarella, was a new idea. Peter said it was. I said not. Which is the usual childish direction our conversations go -- "No-ooo!" "Yes!" "Never!" "Wrong!" Peter wisely changed the subject to an even newer tomato concept he'd recently encountered at Lulu & Po: sliced fresh tomatoes, dappled with brown butter, salt, and pepper. He had me (for once!) -- I'd never heard of brown butter tomatoes.

How can you resist something called Brown Butter Tomatoes? I had to try them, which I did at our last photo shoot. You won't believe how easy they are, how close you are to summertime bliss just reading these words. Start walking to your kitchen. Slice a tomato. Beefsteak is best. One-third inch thick slices -- half-inch is too thick, one-quarter is too thin. Get out your ruler if you must. Overlap the slices on the plate you'll devour them from. Brown the butter and grab a spoon. As you spoon the butter over the tomatoes, listen: they sizzle! Shower them with a flaky salt, grind over some pepper. And have at them. As Merrill noted, the tomatoes and butter together are mysteriously, deliciously reminiscent of lobster with melted butter. The richness. The sweet, tender flesh. The exquisite burst of summer.
Amanda Hesser

Serves 4 as a first course, 2 as a light lunch

  • 2 large or 3 small ripe beefsteak tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Flaky sea salt, like Maldon
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • Baguette or other country bread, for mopping up the butter
  1. Core the tomatoes and slice them 1/3-inch thick. Divide the tomato slices among 4 plates, overlapping the slices just a little.
  2. Place the butter in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan and set over medium low heat. Let the butter melt completely. It will begin bubbling. Let the butter simmer away, cooking off its water, until it begins to smell nutty and brown. Swirl the pan every 30 seconds or so. When the butter turns the color of a hazelnut, remove it from the heat. Use a soup spoon to ladle it over the tomatoes. They'll sizzle! You want to dress the tomatoes with the butter as if you were pouring ganache over a cake -- be generous!
  3. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper, then rush the plates to the table so everyone can taste the tomatoes while the butter is hot! Mop up the butter and tomato juices with good bread. Toast to summer!

Comments (33) Questions (0)

Default-small
Default-small
Default-small

8 months ago Rachel

Made these with yellow tomatoes tonight. Luxurious.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

8 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I made them tonight, too! Was thinking next time I'd like to try it with halved cherry tomatoes.

Default-small

8 months ago Demington

Really lovely. Thanks, Amanda.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

8 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks for trying it out.

04

8 months ago Morrissex

This recipe brings me memories of my childhood at my grandmother's home. She used to make home-baked bread, which I used to eat along with butter, a slice of tomato and cilantro.

Default-small

8 months ago blanchette

AMAZING!!!! I dressed the plate with a single layer of fresh red leaf lettuce straight from my little garden, Cherokee tomatoes on top, brown butter (yum!), topped with fresh parsley and basil right out of the garden...heaven on a plate :0)

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

8 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Glad you liked it so much!

Default-small

8 months ago Lisa

I like the recipe. I like to add fresh sage leaves to the browned butter until crisp and garnish the tomato slices with them.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

8 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Great idea -- I'm going to try it.

Anotherfoodieblogger_about_me_image

8 months ago anotherfoodieblogger

I can't wait to try this when my beefsteaks ripen this year. Wow!

Default-small

8 months ago ellent124

Oh boy! had this for dinner tonight--yummy. Love brown butter and on the tomatoes it was wonderful...

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

8 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thank you!

Default-small

8 months ago Mocha

Son of a mothermuchacho this was good! I would have NEVER thought to combine these two, but maaaan! Loved it!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

8 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I've been waiting for the tomatoes go sweeten up to make it again this year -- the tomatoes in NYC have been so dicey this summer!

Default-small

8 months ago caarin

So nice and simple! I had a lot of corn and tomatoes around the other day so I sautéed a chopped shallot in butter until it was fragrant, then added the kernels from one ear of corn and cooked for 3 minutes, added a pinch of sea salt and couple of twists from the pepper grinder. I then tossed the corn in a serving bowl with raw chopped cherry tomatoes. Voila - favorite side dish of summer - next to the zucchini butter from this website. I'll have to try it with brown butter next time. Mmmmm.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

8 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

You should add your corn recipe to the site.... :)

Paulnbuda

8 months ago Stubor

Maybe a sprinkle of rosemary?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

8 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Why not!

Paulnbuda

8 months ago Stubor

Or tarragon, or... 'scuz me, I got carried away.

Default-small

8 months ago sandra

tomatoes can be so sweet so brown butter actually makes a lot of sense.

Default-small

9 months ago Sara

I"m fairly certain it was Marcella Hazan who introduced the concept of cooking tomatoes with butter and not olive oil, incidentally - and a salad of tomatoes, peaches and mozz is definitely not a new idea!

Default-small

9 months ago ellent124

Who wouldn't want to be drizzled with browned butter :)

Default-small

10 months ago Xochi

D'oh! I meant to write that I added fresh mozzarella under the tomato slices. Either way, what a great recipe!

Default-small

10 months ago Xochi

Just made this tonight. Wow. What a revelation. I added a few thin slices of fresh mozzarella under the cheese. Perfect little late night snack.

Default-small

10 months ago Lynn Daniella Hoffmann

Sounds delicious!
Especially since I am a proven tomato fanatic and love butter - what a great combination. Shall probably try this tonight let you know how I liked it. Thanks Amanda!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

10 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Great -- I look forward to your thoughts!

Default-small

10 months ago Lynn Daniella Hoffmann

Amanda,
I didn't make it tonight, but will for sure tomorrow.
Love your recipes and creativity !
If you have time, check out my blog as well - Jump Into My Kitchen. Been around for several years.
It's not a "normal" blog, I don't write about why I make something, or why I created it, I simply offer the recipes... I'm not good at writing why I decided to this or that but would love to learn. Meantime I've just opened my "hidden restaurant" and things are going well !
Comments on the tomatoes tomorrow.
Cheers
Lynn

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

10 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Wow, you cook serious food!

Default-small

10 months ago Lynn Daniella Hoffmann

I guess I do.. LoL
Cooking for me is like breathing, along with creating - it's so natural. I feel like an explorer at times because I rarely follow the rules and go off the beaten path. My greatest pleasure is watching people eat my creations: the sounds that emanate from their mouths are "mmmm.....ooooh....ahhhh" and I just grin.
Here's a link to my restaurant: www.saveursdujour.com (a first of it's kind in Quebec.
Enjoy!

031

over 1 year ago MaureenOnTheCape

So often I see a recipe and the combinations are not much of a surprise. Not this. Who ever would have thought of combining hot, browned butter, with cool, fresh tomato slices? Not I. Not in a hundred years. It is intoxicating. And don't think of the bread as an after thought. It is as necessary to complete the dish as the tomatoes. I don't eat butter much anymore, but the light lunch portion for two people still only adds 300 calories of butter to the meal. The tomatoes add nothing and the bread, well. we all know about bread. Just go easy. Thank you Amanda!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

What a sweet message -- thank you! I made this again this weekend, as a first course before paella. Figured it was my last shot at the tomatoes this season.

Default-small

over 1 year ago walkie74

...wow. This turned out *way* better than I expected. In fact, this is the first time I've ever figured out what brown butter is supposed to taste like--nutty, flavorful, with an added kick from the salt and pepper. (OK, maybe the seasoned salt helped too.) Great recipe!

Open-uri.4355

over 1 year ago Dina Moore-Tzouris

just made this for dinner on the patio with our neighbors. 4 tomatoes, double recipe, completely wiped out. one of those "why didn't i think of that?" recipes. nutty, buttery, fruity deliciousness. a perfect way to simply wow your friends.