Making love to your taste buds.

Brown butter is a labor of love. It takes time and a keen eye and practically continuous stirring to get it right. It can go from perfection to disaster in mere seconds. But, if you are able to bring the butter right to the edge of Blackened-Butter Abyss, when it’s exquisitely nutty and a rich brown, whatever you are serving will benefit from it in scores. Because we all know butter is tasty.  But when you times it by ten (which is how I rate brown butter), it’s not just tasty, it’s sexy, it’s… making love to your taste buds.

And, though every browned butter recipe is special, this one is even more so.  It takes dainty (otherwise a bit boring) broccolini and envelopes it in a luscious shallot-garlic-and-pecan brown butter sauce. Yes. Pecan brown butter.  And yes, it is as good as you can imagine.  The whole dish is nutty and buttery and garlicky.  And it’s down-right pretty on the plate—make sure not to take off too much of the slender broccolini stems, those long legs look (and taste) beautiful.

I found the recipe in the latest Bon Appetit (I’ve had some great luck with Bon Appetit recipes in the past few months—though it may be Gourmet’s red-headed stepchild) and served it at Thanksgiving.  It can be made hours ahead and re-heated on the stove-top when you are about to eat—so if you were thinking of not serving this for the holidays, think again.  I’ll be remaking it for Christmas… and New Year’s… and President’s Day… and whenever I can find the excuse.

Broccolini with Pecan Brown Butter

adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2008

serves 6

If you are nervous about making brown butter, here is a good color guide for you.

  • 5 bunches broccolini, cut off at the very bottom, hard part of the stems
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter + 1 tablespoon if making ahead and reheating
  • 5 shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup pecans, crushed
  • kosher salt

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add broccolini and cook for about 3-4 minutes.  Drain and put in ice water.

In a large skillet, add butter and melt.  Add shallots, garlic, pecans and cook until shallots are soft.  Turn the burner to medium-high and begin to brown the butter, stirring constantly, until it turns a rich brown color and has a nutty aroma (this is a little hard to figure because of the pecans).  When you are there, add the broccolini, reduce the heat, and toss gently until heated through and done to your liking.  Salt generously with kosher salt.  Serve hot.  If reheating later, leave broccoli in the skillet you used, then heat it up over a low heat with the extra butter until hot—about 15 minutes.