Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Rob Corliss
January 7, 2023

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Brown butter delivers depth of flavor while accentuating other flavors, making it nimble and versatile in menu development. Chefs understand and appreciate the subtle, yet distinctive flavor that brown butter imparts, along with its value as an evocative menu descriptor. Brown butter works well in both liquid and solid form, presenting taste contrasts in temperature plays with any food it is added to. Foamed brown butter adds richness and flecks of color, with optimal flavor. Solidified or whipped brown butter introduces character, with more subdued flavor.

Chefs can utilize brown butter in much the same way as regular butter. Look at an existing menu item where it makes sense to swap brown butter for regular butter (such as a brown butter burger or a Key lime pie with a brown butter graham cracker crust), where the rich nuttiness would help drive transformative, signature flavor.

Here are 12 ways to transform menu items with brown butter:

  1. Incorporate into aïoli for sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers
  2. Use in a whipped butter for buttermilk biscuits, pancakes and waffles
  3. Feature in a compound butter for grilled meats, seafood dishes and vegetables
  4. Use in a foamed compound butter for basted meats, seafood and vegetables
  5. Feature as a finishing drizzle over grilled meats, seafood and vegetables
  6. Cook eggs in brown butter for flavor depth
  7. Spoon a finishing dollop into pasta dishes, rice dishes and broths
  8. Griddle grilled cheese sandwiches in brown butter
  9. Replace a ramekin of clarified butter with brown butter to accompany seafood dishes
  10. Make a brown butter hollandaise for eggs Benedict
  11. Toast nuts in brown butter for a premium bar snack
  12. Feature in an icing or glaze for cupcakes, cake pops or doughnuts



About The Author

Rob Corliss

ROB CORLISS is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu.