Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tarragon Walnut Brown Butter Sauce and the Mathematics of Mmm

There are people that will go through their entire life never having experienced the pure joy of fresh fish topped with a perfectly made brown butter sauce. That so many will not allow themselves to enjoy this tarragon walnut brown butter sauce makes me sad.

Now, there are lots of good reasons to not eat butter. If it's against your religion, God bless you - I have no issue with that, or the wet blanket of a deity that controls your thoughts. If you are on a legitimate no-fat diet (for health reasons, not tube top reasons), then I'm not talking to you.

Maybe you just don’t think we have the right to vigorously tug on the teats of other species for our own pleasure. Okay then. But, if you are simply afraid of the calorie count, it's time to do some math.

Consider the brown butter sauce recipe I just posted. A 6-ounce piece of white fish is about 200 calories. If you spoon over a couple tablespoons of this unbelievably delicious sauce (a very generous portion, by the way), you've only added 200 calories, for a grand total of 400!

That's like the best dietary value ever! So, get some nice fresh fish (everything works); poach, sauté, broil, grill, or bake it, and spoon over one of life's greatest simple pleasures. By the way, this sure was nice served next to that asparagus pie we made. Enjoy!




Ingredients for about 4 portions:
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
2 tbsps chopped walnuts
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Butter photo (c) Robert S. Donovan

34 comments:

Bill W, NH said...

Given that I went on a 12 hour marathon deep sea fishing trip yesterday that was productive, it's cod filets tonight piccata style and tomorrow night it will be those more cod filets with Tarragon Walnut Brown Butter Sauce (saw the post after I got back from the store). As always, your timing Chef is impeccable.

Pyrofish said...

If the wind ever dies down here in Sunny (windy) Florida, I'll get my kayak out and get some fresh sea trout to try this with. It looks delicious! I already do brown butter, lemon, and capers, this looks like a fancy upgrade :-)

My favorite side for that is jasmine rice cooked with bay leaves in it.

CollegeGourmet said...

Being afraid of butter is like being afraid of sex. This looks, well... I don't think "amazing" does this sauce justice. I think I'll try this with some walleye next weekend, which is the opening weekend for fishing here; assuming I catch one of course.

PrimeBrit said...

Afraid of sex... Don't knock it, you haven't seen the missus!

Chris K. said...

Do you think this would this work with scallops?

Chef John said...

yes, scallops would be perfect!

Jesse said...

What's the reason for waiting to add the eggs to the mix?

Chef John said...

eggs?

blogagog said...

It must be weird to know that people across the world are making dishes simply because you told us to. Nevertheless, we are! In fact, we'll be eating this on June 2,2009, when my sister takes her family from NJ all the way down to Louisiana to visit us.

Except we're going to use pecans.

I also wanted to thank you for putting tarragon in the mix. I don't like licorice, but I grew some tarragon and had no idea what to do with it. This is a great recipe since the licorice flavor doesn't swamp everything else.

Now if you could come up with a way to use all of that licorice tasting chervil I grew, I'd love you like a brother :).

Chef John said...

make some bean soup (with a ham hock of course) and throw in the fresh chervil, mmmm.

Anonymous said...

Just did this sauce yesterday, it went with the catfish perfectly. Thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

Yummers!

Joe said...

Chef John - I just wanted to stop by and let you how fantastic this sauce is. I served it over turkey breast cutlets a week or so ago and the result was amazing. I plan to serve it tonight over tilapia as well. Quick question: are there any other herbs that may work well in this sauce aside from tarragon? Chives or thyme maybe? Thanks so much!

Chef John said...

yes, those work. also chervil, parsely

Anonymous said...

Did this sauce second time, it was even better ( this time I didn't overdo the lemon ;)) Served on top of perch + plain potatoes and used chives instead of tarragon.

maitino said...

Can I use peanuts?

Chef John said...

never tried, but if you like peanuts...

robyn said...

ack ack..... ok Chef John i must say your cooking is fantastic but... this sauce is too sour. I had to add a few tbsp of sugar to balance out the sugar... I'll try something else from your blog now...

Chef John said...

thanks! but I think you meant this sauce is too sour... for you. ;-) (it's perfect for me)

Mike said...

maybe i did something wrong, it came out way too sour for me too. it actually tasted decent on the fish and i did add some additional butter.

Chef John said...

i like it very tart, and only on the fish... see other comments

Dusto_Magnifico said...

I just tried this over Copper River Red Salmon. It still tastes great. A little bit goes a looooong way! I know that it wasn't the appropriate sauce for a Red fish, what would you recommend for a Red Salmon? (I have about 100 lbs in my freezer) Truthfully the fish is so good it doesn't need much, but with about 100 lbs in the freezer it would be nice to have some variety.

Healthy and Homemade said...

LOVE butter! There is nothing better than butter =P

People shouldn't be afraid of it, as long as you're not eating loads of it in every meal you'll be fine! Cant wait to make this!

Anonymous said...

Rookie question for whoever can answer. When you chop tarragon, do you just use the leaves or the whole thing? Or more broadly, are there general rules for which types of herbs you use only the leaves?

Thanks!

Chef John said...

just the leaves, same for any herb really

Eliza said...

Hi Chef John,

I normally hate the taste of lemon juice on fish HOWEVER i just tried your sauce on a bighead carp, hoping to save it from a bland and boring aferlife and wouldn't you know it? food of the gods. You are the bomb!

Anonymous said...

The people afraid of butter are the same people who eat margarine. Saturated fats are grood for you. That hydrogenized shit full of trans fat? not so much

Randy Sieb said...

Ohhh this was so good. Used pecans instead of walnuts. Put over some stuffed Salmon.

Esther Zamora said...

Chef, I love your food videos! I use to consider myself a good cook. Now that I have you, I consider myself a great cook! Thank you thank you thank you!

mdb139 said...

I've made this a few times now for my wife and me. Absolutely love it! Such an easy and nice way to enjoy fish!

Thanks for the great recipe and technique Chef John!

Leonie Evans said...

Hi John, just checking if you use the 15mL tbsp or 20mL ones... I have just got my BMII within the healthy weight range so I'm still keeping track of portion sizes etc.

Chef John said...

I only know of one tablespoon! It's exactly 1/2 a fluid ounce (so I guess that's 15ml)

L Sim said...

Chef John, I usually love your rcecipes but this sauce is way too tart. It needed some sugar or something. I thought I read it wrong but when I checked, it did say 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Sorry, the sauce didn't work for me or my guests.

L Sim said...

Chef John, I usually love your rcecipes but this sauce is way too tart. It needed some sugar or something. I thought I read it wrong but when I checked, it did say 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Sorry, the sauce didn't work for me or my guests.