How To Make A Vinaigrette That Tastes Like Browned Butter

How To Make A Vinaigrette That Tastes Like Browned Butter
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Browned butter is often used to make the rich richer and the decadent more indulgent, but its true power lies in bringing a bit of depth to a big pile of fresh, vibrant produce. Though I wouldn’t fault you pouring a bunch of melted, browned butter on a salad, this vinaigrette takes a more balanced (or some would say “societally acceptable”) approach.

Photo: Claire Lower

A good salad dressing is a balanced mixture of fat, acid, salt and sweetness, and this one gets a nutty boost from a blend of browned butter and walnut oil. (Not only does the walnut oil taste divine, it helps keep things flowing.) The result is a vinaigrette that made me plow through a whole head of radicchio in one sitting. To make enough for a big bowl of salad, you will need:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 clove minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons white wine or dry vermouth
  • 2 tablespoon walnut oil (you could use olive oil in a pinch, but it will obscure the nutty flavour a bit)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (preferably Meyer lemon)
  • 4 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • A big pinch of salt
  • 10 grinds of freshly ground pepper

Cook the butter in a sauce pan over medium high heat until it turns golden brown. Add the garlic, and cook for a minute, until it is also golden brown. Pour the the butter into a large, wide cup (one that will fit the head of an immersion blender) or your blender. Deglaze the pan with the wine or vermouth, then pour that in with the butter. Add the remaining ingredients, and blend either in a regular blender or with an immersion blender.

Photo: Claire Lower

Photo: Claire Lower

Pour it on a pile of plant parts and consume. This rich, nutty, slightly sweet dressing plays best with bitter buddies, such as sturdy radicchio or peppery arugula, but really, almost any salad green (even kale) will do.