This delicious, Browned Butter Applesauce is a recipe I had saved from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel food column of Sandy (Sanford) D'Amato, a James Beard Award-winning chef and former owner of famed Sanford Restaurant in Milwaukee. He sold his restaurant to his talented chef-de-cuisine and moved to New England with his wife to write his cookbook and memoirs, Good Stock, and has recently opened a cooking school in Massachusetts called Cook Stock Farm Cooking School. With autumn and apple season in full throttle, I made his recipe this past week.
Speaking of New England, I was the VERY fortunate winner of a seafood giveaway from Fresh New England recently! El lives in and promotes New England through her gorgeous photography and amazing baking skills. The giveaway was her way to celebrate the recent launch of her new website, Fresh New England Eats which, with her team, promotes the New England food community. Not only did I win 2 beautiful, live, New England lobsters...
...but an entire clambake for two including mussels, steamers and clam chowder direct from Ipswich Shellfish Market in Ipswich, Massachusetts. They were a pleasure to contact and very helpful with tips on how to store the shellfish until time to cook them. The shellfish came beautifully chilled and packaged this past Friday, arriving early the very next morning after it was shipped, which just happened to be National Lobster Day!
Two very dear friends, who have many years of lobster boils under their belts, were invited to share our bounty, cooked over our back yard fire pit. We supplemented with Gulf shrimp, Littleneck clams, Wisconsin corn-on-the-cob, locally made sourdough bread and my garden tomatoes. A delicious collaboration of East meets Midwest, and, what a feast! Warm clam juice, melted butter, and seafood sauce were supplied for copious dipping of the shellfish. FYI, I had never eaten New England Steamers before and they are unlike any other clam I've eaten. Thankfully, our friends had and were able to teach us how it's done. They are delicious!
The clams, mussels and shrimp were wrapped and tied in cheesecloth 'bags' for the boil and were our first course followed by the lobsters, corn and tomatoes for the main course. Here is an easy method for an Indoor, Stove-top Clambake from Ina Garten if you'd like to try one at home! Ours was kept simple with no other additions to the water for the boil.
Not only were the fresh shellfish delicious and a special treat in itself, but we were lucky enough to enjoy a gorgeous, early fall evening with the almost-full Supermoon overhead! It was a magical night!
If all this weren't bounty-enough to shout about, I also received this charming, vintage-replica basket loaded with New England goodies from El! A variety of crackers, preserves, raspberry and hibiscus jam (oh my), New England honey and maple syrup, country ketchup, and a bottle of craft made, pure cranberry soda mixer. The basket also included Food Rules - an eaters manual by Michael Pollan, which is wonderfully well written, humorous and beautifully illustrated. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to live a healthier life by eating good, natural food.
Thank you very much to El, Fresh New England and Fresh New England Eats for this amazing, delicious, bountiful, fresh, New England prize!!
Sandy's Browned Butter Applesauce
Adapted from Chef Sanford D'AmatoPrintable Recipe
Makes approximately 1 quart
My Note: Instead of mace, cardamom and cinnamon, I used Penzey's Baking Spice mix which contains all three.
2 tablespoons salted butter
4 pounds Gala, or another tart apples (about 6 large), peeled (reserve peels), cored and cut in half, each half cut into 8 pieces
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon ground mace
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, cassia preferably
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Cider peel liquid:
1 tablespoon butter
Reserved apple peels
¼ cup bourbon
1 ½ cups unsweetened apple cider
Place a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When hot, add the butter, let it melt and turn golden brown. Immediately add the apples and stir. Add bay leaves, mace, cardamom, cassia cinnamon and salt. Cook, covered and stirring regularly, so that the apples evenly turn a light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
To make the cider peel liquid, place a large sauté pan medium-high heat. Add the butter and, when hot, add the peels and sauté, stirring, for 4-6 minutes, until golden. Remove from heat and add bourbon and cider. Place back over the heat and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Puree this mixture in a blender, then strain through a medium strainer while pressing on the solids — this should yield 1¼ cups.
Add the cider peel liquid, vanilla and lemon juice to the cooked apples and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring, over low heat. Remove bay leaves and puree coarsely by pulsing in a food processor. Adjust seasoning with salt and refrigerate until needed.
Fresh applesauce will keep for about 10 days refrigerated or, up to a year in the freezer.