My dad owned and operated a fantastic little bistro for most of my life. He’s the most talented chef I know and, as it turns out, really great at multi-tasking. When my brothers and I were little, sometimes childcare meant “helping” him out in the kitchen. I use quotations because as I think about it now, I’m sure we were about as helpful as you expect a five year old would be in a professional kitchen…
Anyway, I have this distinct memory of my little brother and I in bunched up white aprons, little legs dangling off the prep counter, having the time of our lives fishing big, juicy snails out of a jar and placing them into escargot plates, covering each divot (expertly, I’m sure) with a generous dab of beurre bourguinonne (fancy french garlic butter).
The best lesson I ever learned from my dad in kitchen is that good food is the food that you love to eat. There are lots of rules and traditions and norms when it comes to cooking, but I like the idea that if you cook something you want to eat, you’re doing something right.
So yeah, I’m no expert, but today I did something right. Given my, um, extensive background slinging snails and compound butter, I like to think I know what I’m talking about with this Roasted Garlic Brown Butter Compound. This recipe started percolating in my head recently when I got the hankering for some really good corn on the cob. Being the height of summer, corn is just out of this world right now. And this Roasted Garlic Brown Butter really takes it to the next level. Rich and nutty with that really deep, but mellow flavor that can only come from roasting the bajeezus out of a whole clove of garlic.
I roasted the garlic on a grill, largely because it’s still 104 degrees here today and the idea of turning on the oven makes me want to cry a little. You could just as easily roast the garlic in your oven for the same amount of time. In either scenario, you’ll know it’s done when it smells the way I imagine my Italian Grandmother’s kitchen would. If, you know, I had an Italian Grandmother. As it happens, I don’t.
But I do have Roasted Garlic Brown Butter. Pros and cons.
Do be advised that this recipe makes quite a lot of butter, though it’ll keep for a long while in your fridge. Just be sure to keep it wrapped in plastic wrap or sealed in an airtight container. We enjoyed this immensely smeared on grilled corn, but I suspect it would be equally wonderful slathered on a piece of crusty bread or served with any number of meats or seafoods. Snails, anyone?
- 2 sticks butter (1 cup) refrigerated
- 1 whole garlic bulb
- 1 tsp olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ⅓ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- Begin by roasting the garlic. Peel away as much of the papery skin on the outside of the garlic bulb as you can. Cut off the very tip and place on a square of foil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. I roasted mine on the grill over medium heat for about 45 minutes, but you could just as easily roast it in a 400 degree oven for the same amount of time or until soft and brown.
- While garlic is cooling, brown one stick of butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Place the entire stick in the pan over medium heat. Swirl the pan occasionally until the butter is entirely melted. Whisk the melted butter just until it just begins to turn brown. It will foam first and turn brown quite quickly after, so be sure to keep an eye on it. The minute it starts to brown, remove from the heat but continue whisking for about 30 seconds.
- Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins. With the side of a knife, smash the cloves into a paste and stir into the browned butter along with the parsley. Cut the other stick of the butter into 8 chunks and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Add the brown butter mixture and process until completely combined. Spoon the butter onto a piece of foil or parchment paper and roll into a log. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or until thoroughly chilled.