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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2012 Eat and Repeat: Arugula Salad with Browned Butter Vinaigrette

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A delicious explosion. That's what we'll call the near-disaster that took place in my kitchen the evening I decided to recreate Home Wine Kitchen's arugula salad tossed in brown butter. In case you're a new reader, I've taken on a challenge for 2012 that I've dubbed Eat and Repeat. The premise is simple, visit 6 new restaurants in St. Louis (taken from STL Mag's list of 25 Best New Restaurants). On the months I'm not trying a restaurant, I attempt to recreate something in The Sweets Life kitchen that we enjoyed out.
Back to that delicious explosion. As much as I loved the twice baked potatoes with blue cheese that we had at Home Wine Kitchen, I wanted to give browned butter a try. It's all the rage in baked goods right now and I was intrigued to try it in a savory dish. The 'salad' part of the recipe was easy to recreate. I blanched a bunch of vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, green beans, and brussels sprouts) and mixed them with arugula, just as the restaurant had (although they used eggplant instead of asparagus and green beans). For the brown butter vinaigrette, I looked up several different recipes online and noticed that many included some sort of vinegar and a bit of olive oil.
After browning my butter, I added a dash of olive oil and started to whisk. I then added a splash of white wine vinegar and the hot butter and vinegar appeared to have some sort of a reaction. It sounded like fireworks were being lit in the middle of our kitchen. Ryan ran into the kitchen just in time to witness butter spray all over the stovetop, the counter, and the wall. Oops. Thankfully, the reaction died down within a few seconds and there was still enough butter remaining in the pan. I added a squeeze of lemon juice before tossing it with the arugula and vegetables.

Although Home Wine Kitchen appears to have a better grip on brown butter vinaigrette than I do, this was still pretty delicious...but then again, when doesn't butter make something better?! Next time I think I'll let the butter cool a bit before I add any vinegar, or perhaps I'll avoid it altogether!

One Year Ago: Breakfast Tortilla Strata
Two Years Ago: Whole Wheat Baguettes

Arugula Salad with Browned Butter Vinaigrette
 inspired by Home Wine Kitchen in St. Louis, MO
*ingredient quantities are an approximation--adjust according to your needs!
-6 cups arugula
-1/4 cup chopped broccoli florets
-1/2 lb brussel sprouts, ends trimmed and sprouts halved
-1/3 lb fresh green beans, ends snapped off
-1/3 lb asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
-4 tbsp butter
-1 tbsp olive oil
-splash of white wine vinegar
-1/2 fresh lemon

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add broccoli, brussels sprouts, green beans, and asparagus. Cook in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, until vegetables are tender but still have a slight bite. Drain pot and immediately place vegetables in a bowl of ice water to stop their cooking. Allow to sit for 1-2 minutes before draining.
2. While vegetables are cooking, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat, swirling occasionally, until browned (it will start to smell nutty). Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Stir in olive oil and vinegar. Squeeze lemon juice into butter mixture.
3. If needed, dry of blanched vegetables. Toss vegetables with arugula and browned butter mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.