How do you get the flavor of raspberry pie without the pastry dough? It all began with a recipe for tomatoes, in which sliced tomatoes are laid on a plate, doused with sizzling hot browned butter, and showered with flaky salt. The result is hard to describe: rich, juicy tomato that reminds you -- happily -- of lobster with butter sauce.
I wondered if the same magical effect would work with summer fruit. Raspberries share some of the same qualities of a fresh tomato – they’re delicate and sweet yet have formidable acidity. I worried that plain browned butter on a raspberry might be odd, so after browning the butter, I dropped in some vanilla – which vaporized in the hot butter, amplifying its scent. Just as I'd done with the tomatoes, I spooned the butter on the raspberries, so it sizzled into the fruit, and then in place of the flaky salt, I sprinkled the wilting berries with raw sugar. I expected it to taste like buttery raspberries, but instead images of pie sprang to mind.
I was also reminded that while I love berries alone, I always feel a little sad when they’re served uncooked for dessert. I have a remedy now. And my next target: peaches.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.