By Flavor & The Menu
November 21, 2022
“In all the restaurants and kitchens I’ve worked, we made clarified butter almost every day,” says Chef Billy Kalil, Commercial Foodservice Product Specialist, Land O’Lakes Culinary Center. “Who doesn’t love using buttery flavor for cooking fish, eggs and vegetables? In fact, every omelet I’ve ever prepared was cooked in clarified butter. It adds such richness to everything from a humble over-easy egg to soft-scrambled eggs topped with caviar. The same is true for seared halibut or when you are butter poaching lobster. And clarified butter can elevate a ho-hum vegetable side dish into something truly enticing in a way that sautéing with vegetable oil can’t match.”
But while many chefs pride themselves on making everything that comes out of their kitchen from scratch, they might be underestimating the cost factor of clarifying butter on their own, says Kalil. “Clarified butter is a high-heat cooking medium with great flavor, but it takes time and focus to make from scratch. It’s vulnerable to burning, which means lost product, time and money. Plus, when you clarify butter, you end up losing about a quarter of what you started with by removing the water and milk solids—and you’ve paid staff to do so,” he says. “A simpler way to get the benefits of clarified butter is to let Land O’Lakes make it for you.”
Land O Lakes® Clarified Butter delivers the robust and complex flavor you expect, while providing critical back-of-house advantages. It’s a premade, shelf-stable product you can keep in dry storage for easy access whenever the menu requires, a particular value when time is tight and you’ve added a new daily special. It’s a tool for effective staff management, helping to keep busy kitchens from becoming overwhelmed. Fundamentally, it’s a smart solution that lets you focus on the flavor benefits that clarified butter brings to your meals.
“Clarified butter’s biggest advantage is its high smoke point, delivering butter flavor to other ingredients without the worry of it burning in the pan,” says Kalil, noting that it’s an ideal medium for basting. “When you are sautéing a piece of meat or fish, you can add a few more spoonfuls of clarified butter to the pan, along with some fresh, hearty herbs like thyme or rosemary, a crushed garlic clove and maybe chile flakes, if you want some heat. Allow those aromatics to fry in the butter for a minute to infuse some of their flavor, then carefully spoon the hot butter over the meat or fish. I often baste steaks or chicken like this when I pan fry them.”
There are other nuanced opportunities that clarified butter offers to inventive chefs. “Consider that butter poached lobster,” says Kalil. “Cool down the clarified butter after you’ve finished poaching, and it will have taken on some of the lobster flavor. You can use that butter to intensify the flavor of a seafood sauce.” He also notes clarified butter’s use in hollandaise and bearnaise sauce. “Plus, it’s called for in some baked goods. For example, it’s brushed between sheets of phyllo in dishes like baklava.”
Cooking with clarified butter is a culinary strategy chefs use to raise their A-game in serving up memorable meals. Secure extra credit with the back-of-house advantages of using premade Land O Lakes® Clarified Butter.
Check out Land O’Lakes Foodservice for more tips, tricks and inspiration.
From the 2023 Top 10 Trends issue of Flavor & The Menu, for chefs and menu developers. Read full issue online.