The One Ingredient That Makes Summer Tomatoes 10x Better

A few years ago, I discovered the total magic that is brown butter. The joining forces of the deep, nutty flavor and the aroma are downright intoxicating and enhance every bite of food you sink your teeth into. I love brown butter so much that my friends and family are probably so sick of hearing me talk about this super simple star ingredient (and how I add it to everything from pasta to toast to granola in the fall).

While brown butter has cozy autumnal vibes, it's a great thing to have around during the summer too. Melted butter already shows up in some iconic summer dishes—baked clams, steamed lobster—so browning the delicious dairy only adds a deeper flavor to something that's already so delicious. And if you ask me, the absolute best way to use browned butter in the summer is to drizzle it on giant slabs of salted, farm-ripened tomatoes. Are you in?

Related: 28 Best Fresh Tomato Recipes

<p>Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel</p>

Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel

What Is Brown Butter?

Brown butter is just that—butter that's melted down and browned in a pan until it's just short of being considered burnt. You stop cooking it just short of that stage, much like making caramel from granulated sugar. And just like candy making, you have to keep a close watch on butter while it's browning and pull from the heat just as it turns that golden color.

What you end up with is a fragrant, nutty, caramelized, golden melted butter that can be used anywhere and everywhere you would use regular butter: chocolate chip cookies, pecan pie, banana bread. You can also go savory with brown butter and toss it with pasta, pour it over fish or drizzle it over tomatoes.

How Do You Make Tomatoes with Brown Butter?

Tomatoes with brown butter<p>Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel</p>
Tomatoes with brown butter

Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel

In a heavy-bottomed pot or frying pan, melt one stick of butter, swirling and stirring over low heat until it starts to bubble. This is the point in the cooking where some of the water begins to evaporate. Next, you'll notice a foam on top. Keep stirring until it smells toasted and you begin to see tiny flecks of the browned butter start to form on the bottom of the pot (these are the milk solids that are beginning to caramelize). Remove from the heat immediately and pour into a glass bowl.

Related: Make-Ahead Brown Butter Is My New Favorite Cooking Hack

Next, grab the ripest, most beautifully misshapen summer tomato you can find. Stand it on its side and slice with a serrated knife into thick rounds. Place the tomato slices on a plate and spoon some of your brown butter on top, then sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper and flaky sea salt. Devour and thank me later.

What Do Tomatoes in Brown Butter Taste Like?

Ripe tomatoes are great, but the addition of brown butter made them even better. The butter added a deep, caramel-y, umami flavor to the juicy tomatoes and left me almost speechless after every bite. Of course, I added some freshly ground black pepper and flaky sea salt on top, which added a nice crunchy texture to the warm tomatoes. The only thing missing from this simple recipe was fresh herbs, so I added my favorite one: lemon thyme. Every bite was the perfect taste of summer: warm, fresh, decadent and 100% delicious.

Up next: The 'Genius' Tomato Salad Ingredient That's Perfect for Summer