Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Basic Béchamel Sauce

This post is for Katryna. If you learn how to make this, you can make anything taste good! xo

I bet you didn't know this but Béchamel was invented by Catherine de Medici's Tuscan cooks who brought it to France from Italy in the 17th Century (thanks wiki). A great sauce to add to your repertoire for its versatility. Béchamel is a base for over 50 sauces. By adding one or two ingredients Béchamel can morph into the following:

Sauce Mornay (cheese) - Bring the Béchamel to a boil, remove from the heat and beat in 1/4 - 1/2 cup of coarsely grated Gruyere cheese or a Gruyere and finely grated Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt, pepper, nutmeg and hot paprika. Remove from the heat and then stir in 1 Tbsp. of butter.

Crème sauce (heavy cream) - Bring the Béchamel sauce to a simmer and, a tablespoonful at a time beat in 1/2 cup of sweet cream, simmering and mixing constantly until the sauce is at the consistency you want. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a few drops of lemon juice.

Sauce Aurore (tomato)- Bring the Béchamel to a simmer and then, a Tablespoonful at a time, stir in 2 - 6 Tbsp. tomato puree until you have achieved the color and flavor desired. . Correct the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the flame and just before serving stir in 1 - 2 Tbsp. of butter and finely chopped fresh parsley, basil or tarragon to taste.

Here is how you make it!

Ingredients & Preparation: Quick method

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 clove of garlic, whole
  • 1 bay leaf, whole
  • 1-2 tbsp butter (1 for a thinner sauce, 2 for a thicker sauce)
  • 1-2 tbsp flour (")
  • salt & pepper to taste
Put the garlic and bay leaf in a small pot with the milk. Bring the temperature of the milk up on med-low heat to a boil being very careful not to burn it. Take off the heat and steep the milk with the garlic and bay leaf for 15 minutes. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook the roux for a minute or so. Do not let it turn brown.
Gradually whisk in the milk. Cook and stir constantly until it is thick.
Add salt & pepper to taste.
The roux!

Thick Béchamel sauce ready for your next meal!

I'm submitting this recipe to Joelen's Culinary Adventures for her August Tasty Tools! She is featuring Whisks and this recipe qualifies! See Joelen's great blog here: http://joelens.blogspot.com/


Joelen said...

This is such a helpful post! Would you like to submit this to the Tasty Tools blogging event (considering you have a great shot of your whisk?!) Details can be found here: http://joelens.blogspot.com/2008/08/august-tasty-tools-whisks.html

better than takeout said...

Ok! I'll follow the steps you have posted. Hopefully I do this right!