I love the nutty aroma of brown butter or beurre noisette which literally translates to hazelnut butter from French. Brown butter are used in both savoury and sweet dishes and my first time making brown butter was actually for the latter when I made the ever elusive 36 hour chocolate chip cookies. I have been looking forward to using brown butter in a savoury dish ever since and finally got around to it in today’s feature. I decided to go the fusion route and included some light soy sauce in the mix which complimented the brown butter very well – I threw in some smashed garlic, English parsley and a splash of red wine as well. As for the red snappers, I simply rubbed them with some sea salt and pepper, sprinkled some parsley and topped them with some lemon slices before grilling them in the oven.
This is such an easy and summery way of serving fresh fish while the soy-brown butter sauce finishes the dish with just a touch of sophistication, I do hope you will give this a try. All in all, an easy dinner to throw together whenever you have company or when you just feel like doing more for yourself. Do note however that browning butter requires rapt attention as the moment it starts to brown (you will see deep golden flakes forming in the butter), you will have to either remove it from the heat or add in your other ingredients to lower the temperature to avoid burnt butter. Browning butter is such a fun exercise and you will love how the process ‘perfumes’ your kitchen with the natural nutty aroma. If you happen to make more than required, you can keep the cooled brown butter in an air-tight container for a few days in the fridge for other uses.
This post is part of my Yuen Chun recipes, an ongoing project on this blog.
For the snappers:
3 red snappers, scaled and cleaned (about 500g each)
3-4 tbsps sea salt (enough for rubbing both sides of the fishes)
Dash of black pepper (enough for sprinkling on surface of fishes)
Olive oil (enough to drizzle on fishes before grilling -both sides)
3 slices of lemon and more for serving at the table
Firstly, pre-heat your oven to about 200C (392F) and prepare a tray for grilling. Lightly grease the tray. Make two cuts on the fish. Rub the salt and pepper on both sides of the fishes. Place on tray. Sprinkle with the parsley and drizzle the olive oil on the fish. Place a slice or two of lemon on top of the fish.
Grill for about 25 minutes or until fish is fully cooked. The time required will vary depending on the size of your fish so do test with a fork before removing from the oven.
Soy-Brown Butter Sauce
1/2 cup of unsalted butter (you can use salted but adjust the salt used accordingly)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp light soy sauce
4 smashed garlic cloves
1 tbsp red wine (optional)
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp corn flour dissolved in 1 tbsp water
Handful of English parsley, chopped (you can use other herbs of your choice)
Light soy sauce from Yuen Chun
In a heavy bottomed pan, melt the butter on low heat while stirring frequently. Once the butter melts, watch closely, after a couple of minutes, it will start to foam rapidly. After another two minutes, you should see brown flecks appearing in the melted butter (do note that you have to pay rapt attention as different burners and different pots will yield different times for browning butter).
Once you see the brown flecks, you should also start to smell a strong nutty aroma from the butter. You can choose to strain the butter at this point to get rid of the flecks (recommended if for baking) but I did not strain this time as I wanted a stronger aroma in my sauce.
Add the smashed garlic, parsley and soy sauce into the butter while stirring. Add in the cream and bring to a quick boil. Turn heat to low again and add the red wine and black pepper. Do a taste test and add more salt if required. Finally, add in the corn flour and turn heat up to medium and stir well to incorporate the corn starch mixture. Set aside and reheat when fish is ready to be served.