It’s a classic! Once upon a time, the Sauce Béchamel was a staple of any decent cook’s repertoire, along with it’s near-twin, Sauce Velouté – the only difference being that you make a Béchamel with milk and a Velouté with stock.
This week, as chance would have it, I am trying two recipes that both call for a Béchamel, and in researching methods I learned a thing or two, so thought I may as well share them, and this lovely little overlooked sauce.
But here’s the secret I picked up from da Google: heat the milk before adding to to your roux; it’ll blend in beautifully and give you a smooth, creamy sauce perfect for croquettes, spinach, or anything you feel could use a little sumpin’ sumpin’.
Pour the milk into a ‘wave safe container with a wooden skewer and the salt – the skewer, by breaking the surface of the milk, will help to keep the milk from super-heating in the ‘wave.
Melt the butter in a pan over low heat, then stir in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes (start your ‘wave now).
Set the ‘wave for 2 minutes to heat the milk, then carefully remove and whisk into your now ready white roux off the heat.
Once you’ve whisked the milk in, pop it back on medium-high heat, bring to a boil, and simmer for 1 minute.
Taste, and add any additional salt and pepper, if you like (I also tend to add a bit of hot sauce to mine at this point). Your Sauce Béchamel is ready. Stir in some shredded cheese until it’s melted and you have Sauce Mornay.
For the two recipes I was making; I replaced some of the milk in one with clam juice to make a kind of a modified Velouté; and added a pinch of nutmeg to the other, just because.