Many recipes call for clarified butter, and sometimes I think, "I can get away without doing that extra step." Well sometimes you can and sometimes you can't. You see, clarifying butter removes the milk solids and water. This leaves just the butterfat which has a higher smoke point and makes it easier to cook with and prettier!
Some people buy ghee and substitute that for clarified butter. You can do that, but be aware that ghee has a slightly nuttier flavor as it has been browned a bit.
If you decide to make it, it's easy and can be made ahead of time. It will keep in the refrigerator for about 10 weeks, so you can make a batch and use it for sautéing and making sauces. It's also gr8 on vegetables and, of course, for dipping shellfish, such as lobster, shrimp, etc.
- 1/2 pound butter, salted or unsalted
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter, then turn down to a simmer. (You can clarify a larger amount, if desired, and keep it for later, same instructions)
- Simmer the butter, keeping a close eye on it. The fats will sink to the bottom and foam will rise to the top. Do not stir.
- Carefully skim the foam from the top as it rises. When no more foam rises, carefully pour the yellow butter into a separate dish, leaving the solids behind in the bottom of the pan. You can pour the butter through a cheesecloth to ensure you catch all the solids.