Brown Butter Tomatoes

Brown Butter Tomatoes

Adapted from Food52

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Tomatoes are bathed in brown butter for a super-fast, incredibly easy, dish. Serve with good, chewy bread to mop up the sauce.

This is such an easy dish to make, it hardly feels like a recipe. But the results are stunning. Fresh tomatoes are sliced, spread out on a plate, get a shower of brown butter, and are finished with sprinkle of salt, pepper, and basil.

You can make this with any kind of tomatoes so long as they are fresh. The butter works like a tomato's angel to bring out the best within but it can't hide a tasteless tomato's sins. Choose wisely.

One of the best things about this dish is the sizzle the hot butter makes when hitting the tomatoes. It could be the fancy pants version of Rice Krispies, "snap, crackle, and pop."

There's something that feels fancy or special about this dish. I don't want to say it is a Date Night dish but it could be. It also could be filed under Less than Five Ingredients and Quick. But that's not what my favorite aspects of it are. It is hard to ignore when served. Maybe it's because butter doesn't always get the attention it deserves? Maybe it's because this dish can only be made when the tomatoes are fantastic (and therefore the time feels like an event in and of itself)? Maybe it's because it feels primed for date night... both of you leaning in over the dish with bread at the ready? Or that sizzle sound of hot butter hitting the cool tomato flesh?

The great thing is that we don't have to pick just one reason to love tomatoes in a puddle of melted, brown butter. We just get to love every last swipe of bread through the tomato and butter marriage.


2 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced and layered onto a plate (you can use beefsteak, hot house, cherry... so long as they are fresh and the kind summer dreams of)

3 TBSP unsalted butter

Small handful torn basil leaves

Salt + Pepper

Bread to serve (optional)


1. Set the scene. Gather all eaters. Ready the serving dish with the tomatoes and have the torn basil, salt, pepper, and bread (if serving) ready to go. Also pour the wine.

2. Brown the butter. Add the butter to a small sauce pan over medium heat. Heat for about 3 - 4 minutes. It'll melt, then sizzle and bubble a bit, then start to go a little dark and smell nutty. Don't let it burn! Swirl it every 20 seconds or so.

3. Pour brown butter over tomatoes. Finish with a shower of salt and pepper and sprinkle with basil.

4. Serve with bread to sop up the sauce.


Tomato size and quantity: I've done this with giant heirlooms, halved cherry tomatoes, and a mix of both. You can serve this for one or scale it up for many. I assume that each person can eat one large tomato and for each large tomato you'll want to use 1.5 TBSPs of butter.

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Brown Butter Tomatoes
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