Butter is a miracle ingredient on its own. I love the delicate, creamy taste of it in a flaky croissant. I love the aroma of it sizzling in a pan with garlic. I want to marry butter. Beurre composé (compound butter) is a catch-all term for adding ingredients to take regular butter to a whole new level of awesome. Variations abound, with citrus juice, zest, herbs, wine, vinegar, stock, garlic and shallots all making great candidates for compound butters. This recipe is for sage browned butter, which imparts a nutty, earthy taste. It can be used to flavour vegetables, meat, gravies or pasta. Next week, I'll post a ravioli recipe that incorporates sage browned butter.
To make sage browned butter, start with 1 packed cup of sage leaves, stems trimmed. These are fresh from our garden!
Use a food processor or blender to pulse the sage into fine pieces.
In a heavy-bottomed pot, melt 1 stick (454 g) of salted or unsalted butter over medium-high heat. (Note: don't use a pan as the butter will foam up quickly after you add the sage later on). Once the butter starts to bubble, reduce heat slightly and continue cooking, stirring occasionally so you can keep an eye on the colouration. Wait until the butter starts to brown and release a nutty smell, being careful not to let it burn.
Add the minced sage all at once, stir quickly with a wooden spoon, then remove from heat. The sage pieces will settle at the bottom. That's ok. Allow the butter to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 10-20 minutes.
Your butter will have started to harden and the sage pieces will still be separate, as in the photo below.
Scrape the butter into a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat until well-combined.
Place the butter back in the fridge to start to harden again. Once it will hold a shape, roll it into a log, wrap tightly in foil, and freeze. It will keep in the freezer for a couple of months. I simply slice off pieces as needed for cooking.