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slow start

In all honesty, I am not fully recovered from the big weekend lobster bake… still putting away all that stuff I dragged out of storage. Plus, I have been busy making lobster stock from all those shells.  Therefore, we’ll start the week of recipes slowly and begin with clarified butter. This was used for dipping the lobster and other seafood.

Clarified butter is what is left when melting unsalted butter – after the water evaporates, some solids float to the surface and are skimmed off, and the remainder of the milk solids sink to the bottom and are left behind when the butter fat (the clarified butter) is poured off.

Drawn butter is an American term for clarified butter. It has a higher smoke point than regular butter, which makes it much better for sautéing. It also has a longer shelf life than fresh butter and since is has negligible amounts of lactose, it is more acceptable to people with lactose intolerance.

And just in case you’ve heard of it before and have been wondering… ghee is the East Indian form of clarified butter.

Also note that there is about a 25% loss in the quantity of butter, after clarifying.  You may clarify any amount of butter. I started with 2 sticks (1 cup) but realized that would not be enough for the dinner party, so I ended up clarifying another 2 sticks, or a full pound of butter.

Feel free to save the milk solids you’ve skimmed off.  They can be added to rice, polenta, soups, popcorn, or even your morning toast or oatmeal.  I used them in the boiled potatoes at the lobster bake ~ that recipe will be up in a few days.

Clarified Butter

Place the unsalted butter in a heavy saucepan over melt over the lowest possible heat, until completely melted. Let simmer gently until the foam rises to the top of the melted butter.

Once the butter stops spluttering, and no more foam seems to be rising to the surface, remove from heat and skim off the foam with a spoon. Do not worry if you can’t get every little bit, it will be removed when it is strained.

Line a mesh strainer with a few a double layer of cheesecloth and set the strainer over a heatproof container or a Pyrex measuring cup.

Carefully pour the warm butter through the cheesecloth-lined strainer into the container, leaving behind any solids from the bottom of the pan.

Clarified butter will keep for about 6 months in the refrigerator.

2 sticks (1 cup) of butter will yield about 3/4 cup clarified butter

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1 comment

1 Shelley J { 01.24.12 at 11:44 AM }

Thanks for showing me the right way of doing this. I’ve been doing it all wrong :D.

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