Browned Butter with Olive Oil, Sage and Garlic

- a thing to eat on bread and other things

Makes just over 1/2 cup

This is a rather extreme modification of a classic Italian recipe. It can be used as a dressing for steamed vegetables, as a spread for toast rounds, drizzled over sausages, stirred into soup or pasta sauce, used as a pasta sauce itself. It is intensely flavored and keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator.

Additional needs
  • 1 heavy bottomed saucepan that holds up to 1 quart, preferably light in color on the inside. I use an enameled cast-iron pot to very good effect.
  • Something heat resistant with which to stir. A wooden spoon with a flat tip is ideal.

Melt the butter over medium high heat and cook until the milk solids foam and then sink to the bottom. Watch carefully as they begin to brown, and make sure they do not burn. Stir and scrape any bits which may be clinging to the bottom of the pan. When they are a uniform golden brown, add the garlic and salt. Continue to cook until the garlic pieces have browned about half-way. Then stir in the sage and olive oil. Cook until the sage has darkened to a uniform deep green color. The sage pieces should be crisp and saturated with oil. The oil will be a vivid green.

This can be served in any number of ways. Pour it immediately over a big pile of hot pasta and give it a quick stir. Drizzle some over that platter of steamed asparagus. Stir a spoonful into your vegetable soup. Use it to dress a salmon fillet or a pork chop. Use some to sauté green beans, or make a completely different kind of garlic bread.

If you don’t want to use it right away, pour it into a clean glass jar with a tight fitting lid and keep it in the refrigerator. For a fantastic spread, let it congeal part way, and then stir briskly to mix the browned milk solids and herb bits which will have sunk to the bottom of the jar into the thickened oil. This will hold the bits suspended as long as it remains a semi-solid, which ensures their even distribution when spreading with a knife. It will remain semi-solid at cool room temperature. Or take the jar out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you plan to use it, and it should be soft enough to spread.