On a visit to Ottawa one September, I left the hotel to go to dinner. Summer warm, the restaurants had thrown open their windows and doors and the patios were suddenly full. The Whalesbone was/is renowned for its oysters and other seafood. It lived up to its rep, but it is the butter and bread I remember most. Crusty, barely warm and aromatic, the bread was served with what looked like ordinary butter. Turns out it has been browned and then reconstituted. The notes of nut and caramel in the butter on that bread: the first, drugging kiss in a promising relationship. —Maryann
2 to 4, depending on appetite
Best-quality butter, salted or not
In This Recipe
Slowly melt on low heat in a small saucepan. If melted butter begins to cook prior to all of the solid butter melting, remove from the element and let the remainder melt from the residual heat.
Continue cooking on low heat, letting the browning process take its time.
When the milk solids take on the colour of “old shoe leather,” as Paul Prudhomme once said about a browning process, remove butter from the heat and pour into a small ceramic or glass heatproof dish.
Once cool enough not to cause a condensation in your fridge, place in fridge to reconstitute.
When ready to use, remove from fridge and let soften to room temperature.
Scrap into a mixing bowl (or blending implement) and discard the browned milk solids collected on the bottom of the solid butter. Beat until smooth and creamy.
Serve with best-quality, crusty bread with an airy crumb.
Breathe in and out. Eat.