Brown Butter Vinaigrette is for so much more than salads.

By Maddy Sweitzer-Lammé
Updated October 07, 2020
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If I’ve learned anything from my friends who work in restaurants, it’s that the difference between a nicely cooked but simple homemade meal and an excellent restaurant meal is often one thing: a sauce. And many of them, including my favorite, the Brown Butter Vinaigrette, are pretty simple to throw together.

The Brown Butter Vinaigrette brings three things to any meal: richness, acid, and salt, which basically means it brings 100 percent more deliciousness to whatever you put it on. It comes together quite simply; chopped shallot and herbs get sizzled in richly browned butter, and then whisked together with two types of vinegar and a squeeze of lemon. The result is a creamy, dreamy sauce that takes everything from steamed broccoli to a piece of roasted chicken to a whole new level.

GET THE RECIPE: Brown Butter Vinaigrette

The key is a well-browned butter, which you can pull off easily by using low heat and constantly whisking, which keeps those butter solids moving around, getting toasted evenly and making your whole kitchen smell incredible. The browned butter does the same job as olive oil in any old vinaigrette, but the toastiness and butteriness makes it feel special, and very autumn-appropriate.

Credit: Aaron Kirk

Aaron Kirk

I’ve used my latest batch of this dressing to jazz up a piece of seared salmon. I have massaged it into kale, which I topped with leftover chicken and a handful of nuts for an utterly easy, but super satisfying meal. This sauce is a perfect way to wake up roasted vegetables as well: I like it over roasted squash, for that extra hit of fall flavor. It wouldn’t be out of place as a topping for turkey at Thanksgiving either, if you wanted to skip the hassle of making gravy—and I certainly would pour some on my day-after Thanksgiving sandwich.

The magic of this vinaigrette is that it can be used as a vinaigrette for salad, but it also works perfectly as a sauce for heftier cuts of meat, because it’s all about the balance between creamy, toasty butter, and several types of acid. Once it hits a dish, the fat helps carry flavor, and the acid accentuates flavor, which basically makes this the perfect go-to sauce to improve any meal at all. Don’t worry—you can’t double it and reheat.