Bechamel is a classic French sauce made from butter, flour, and milk, stock or wine, made to compliment the foods they are served with. Sauce Bechamel, a gorgeous creamy sauce, has a number of traditional variations. In addition (and every French person might turn in their grave over this) it is very common in parts of the world (such as Italy and India) to use it in toasted sandwiches with a variety of other fillings. And it is incredibly delicious in this latter day variation.
Some of us who are old enough remember our Mothers making cauliflower drenched in white sauce. We have come a long way since then!
Luckily Bechamel sauce is very easy to make.
Similar recipes include How To Make (and Freeze) Beurre Manie.
How to Make Bechamel Sauce | White Sauce
110 g butter
4 Tblspn plain flour
2cups cold milk
dash of nutmeg
0.5 tspn salt
dash of white pepper
1 tspn sugar
cream (optional, see note)
Melt butter in a saute pan and stir in the flour. Cook over moderate-low while stirring for about 3 mins without browning to cook out the flour.
Add the cold milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and sugar. Stir until thickened.
If making a plain bechamel and not using one of the variations below, stir in the cream until desired consistency is reached.
To make variations, use the base recipe without the addition of cream.
Gently cook 2 finely chopped shallots, 2 Tblspn horseradish and 0.25 tspn dry mustard in the butter of the original recipe then proceed with adding the flour. Flavour the finished sauce with 1 Tblspn each of dry sherry and vinegar. Stir in a little more butter. Delicious in sandwiches!
Saute 1 cup sliced mushrooms in the butter, then proceed with the recipe. Stir through 0.25 cup creme fraiche when finished. Wonderful with vegetables.
Add 1 Tblspn of a curry powder to the butter and then proceed with the recipe. Finish with a little sherry or vinegar. Delightful with snacks.
Saute finely chopped onions in the butter for 10 mins, then add 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms. Cook 5 mins more then proceed with recipe. Great with vegetables and in sandwiches.
Add 1 Tblspn dry mustard (not too hot) to the butter, then continue with the recipe. Add 3 Tblspn thick cream when finished.
Add small diced vegetables to the butter and saute until softened then continue with the recipe. Use carrots, peas, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Great for toasted sandwiches.
Vegetable Toasties with White Sauce
Add 0.5 cups pureed tomatoes and 2 Tblspn sherry to the sauce. Great with vegetables.
Stir in 1 tspn grated lemon or lime rind and 4 Tblspn thick cream. Great with vegetables.
Add 3 Tblspn chopped chives and 2 Tblspns thick cream. For vegetables.
Creme Fraiche Bechamel
Add 4 Tblspn creme fraiche. Great with vegetables.
Some Uses of Bechamel
Cauliflower slow cooked in oil can be spread into sandwiches, with a cold bechamel, capers and gentle lettuce.
Cauliflower Gratin with Bechamel Sauce, Blue Cheese and White Pepper, topped with breadcrumbs.