A béchamel is a white sauce that is made with milk and cream and infused with the flavors of herbs, citrus or just about anything else you want to add to it. It is used as a dressing, pasta sauce, soup-based, and condiment. It can be served as a dip or drizzled over other foods as a sauce. It’s a versatile sauce that is always flavorful.
When making a béchamel, one should focus on flavor, and consistency. It starts with a roux and the cook should always remove lumps in the early stages of cooking to ensure a silky, smooth consistency. This sauce is served in many restaurants and is a part of many classic recipes. While traditional béchamel sauces are delicious, some people prefer to dress them up. These recipes will allow you to add different flavors to your béchamel so you can use it in different ways.
1. Basic Béchamel
This basic sauce can be served with a variety of meats and sides. Use this sauce to add flavor to almost any dish.
- Whole milk
- Clarified butter
- All-purpose flour
- Whole cloves
- Bay leaf
- Kosher salt
- Ground white pepper
- Ground nutmeg
- In a saucepan, warm the milk and stir occasionally. You only want to warm it slightly.
- In another saucepan, melt the butter.
- Add flour to the butter and stir until it is well blended and turns to a roux.
- Slightly cook the roux but do not make it too hot.
- Add the milk to the roux and gently whisk the ingredients together until there are no lumps.
- Press the bay leaf into the onion with the cloves and add it to the sauce.
- Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the sauce is smooth and silky, remove it from the heat. It should coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove the onion form the sauce and pour the sauce through a mesh strainer.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add a sprinkle of nutmeg.
- Serve warm.