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Drawn Butter vs. Beurre Monte

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Drawn butter

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by Jennifer Armentrout and Melissa Pellegrino

Our story on grilling shellfish includes three dipping sauces, but you may want to keep it simple and just serve melted butter. Here are two ways to go:

Drawn butter is often served as a dipping sauce for shellfish, especially lobster. There’s a lot of disagreement, though, as to what exactly drawn butter is. Most culinary references say it’s clarified butter—that is, pure melted butter fat that’s been separated from the milk solids and water that are present in whole butter. But talk to a few good chefs and you’ll hear the argument that much of the flavor in melted butter comes from those milk solids, so they consider drawn butter to be simply melted butter seasoned with a little salt and pepper and maybe a bit of lemon juice.

Beurre monté is an emulsified butter sauce. When whole butter is melted, the butter fat tends to separate from the milk solids and water. But you can keep this from happening by whisking lumps of cold butter into a couple of tablespoons of extra-warm water. This emulsifies the butter as it melts, and separation doesn’t occur. You can use beurre monté in a variety of ways; one of our favorites is as a poaching liquid for lobster and delicate white fish. It also makes a delicious sauce—just add some minced shallots, white wine, and lemon juice for a version of beurre blanc, a classic white wine butter sauce. Or you can add spices to make a dipping sauce, as we did in the Old Bay Dipping Sauce. If you’d like to make a plain beurre monté, just follow that recipe up to the point where the Old Bay and shallots are added, and season it with a little salt instead.

Drawn butter Beurre monté
     
Drawn butter   Beurre monté

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