Brown Butter Is Martha Stewart's Simple Secret For Fancier Potato Puree

Pureed potatoes deserve a place of honor on the dinner table, and Martha Stewart's simple secret to make them fancy is a decadent and toasty tasting, brown butter that will do just that. Stewart's recipe, per her Facebook post, is special, but it isn't the fact that she steams russet potatoes and then opts for a fine-mesh sieve to strain and press them through it. It is the creamy, brown butter with garlic and thyme that will keep you shoveling them into your mouth.

After simmering her butter until it is golden brown, Stewart uses cheesecloth to line her fine mesh sieve. Inside this cloth, she places thyme and garlic before straining the butter over it. She adds cream and then whisks it all together before adding to her pureed potatoes. This brown butter cream transforms a humdrum mashed potato into a creamy, buttery, sweet, and floral side dish that your taste buds, and those of your fellow diners, will soon forget.

Salted or unsalted?

What does the brown butter actually do? When you make a buerre noisette you are expanding the flavor of the butter without adding anything to it. It's kind of magical because when those milk solids caramelize, it is as if you've created an entirely new food. Brown butter is not a supporting ingredient, it is a full-on star of anything it is added to, and when it is added to mashed potatoes, the intense and rich flavor will not leave you wanting. It is simply sublime. 

When choosing what type of butter to use, it really is a matter of taste. Stewart uses unsalted butter to make her brown butter, and this is wise if you need or want to control the amount of salt it is made with; however, if you prefer a more salty and savory bite, you can still achieve the same lovely flavor with salted butter. That said if you choose to use brown butter over regular butter in your pureed potatoes, brown it first and then measure it before adding to your dish.