Monday, February 16, 2009

béchamel sauce

béchamel sauce is the posh name for good old white sauce. it's very useful and has many applications. lasagne, moussaka, mornays and croque monsieur include it in their composition....then, it also lends itself as a base for other sauces. one friend, doctor stewart, loves white sauce and its versatility, advised that i could change white sauce to pink sauce very simply by adding some tomato sauce. i haven't tried that yet, but, hey, there's got to be a first.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup plain flour
3 cups milk
a litlle freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground white pepper

in a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour until blended but not coloured. gradually whisk in the milk and cook, whisking the whole time, until thickened, about 10 minutes. season to taste with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

that's it. very simple, but i can't emphasise enough that you have to whisk the whole time, that way, the sauce is silky smooth without any lumps. one friend swears by using the flat whisk; me? the balloon whisk is my thing. either way, just keep stirring with the whiskand make sure you get into the corners of the pot so everything mixes in.

Set aside. (May be made up to 24 hours ahead of time and stored, refrigerated, with a layer of plastic wrap placed directly on surface of sauce; gently reheat before serving.)

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