The Béchamel : Sauce Blanche
The Sauce Blanche or White Sauce, also known as Sauce Béchamel, is that delicious milky component of dishes like Gratins and Lasagnas. Needless for me to point out at its importance in these culinary preparations. It is what brings all the succulence to these dishes.
The White Sauce was born in Italy as the Salsa Colla (gluey sauce). It was a veal consommé with significant cream. It was introduced to France around 1533 by the Marquis Béchamel, chief steward of the Medici family. Throughout the following decades, the heavy velouté went through several stages of evolution and into what we know today of a simpler Sauce Béchamel. (ref: Larousse Gastronomique). Since the 17th century, the Béchamel Sauce is considered “one of the mother sauces of French cuisine” and “is used as the base for other sauces”. (ref: Michael Ruhlman, The Elements of Cooking).
Luckily for us food lovers, the Sauce is so easy to make today, and can be made in two versions: Roux and Low-Fat.
The Roux requires melting butter and mix in flour as you stir. We then pour in the milk gradually, over low heat, and keep stirring until it thickens. Nutmeg is the flavor-enhancing spice. Depending on the dish we intend to prepare, other spices can be incorporated, like the cumin or the Lebanese 7-spice that brings in the benefits and aroma of eight different spices.
I often use the Low-Fat Recipe with no butter, no flour and Powder Milk instead of Milk; all which cuts off the fat to a minimal 3 g per portion. Below, I share both recipes for you to decide which one you prefer to use. Both are delicious and of same input, with the Roux being a little heavier.
To Your Good Health, Cheers!
Low-Fat Sauce Blanche: Bechamel
- 6 tbsps Powder Milk Low-Fat
- 1 tbsp Cornstarch
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 2 cups Water
In a saucepan, mix the ingredients of the white sauce. Turn on the heat to medium, and stir continuously until it starts thickening. Set aside, and use it to continue the dish you are preparing.
THE ORIGINAL RECIPE:
Original Sauce Bechamel Recipe
- 1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
- 1 cup Milk
- 4 tbsps Unsalted Butter
- 1 dash Ground Nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Lebanese 7-Spice
Warm the milk in the microwave. It's faster and less messy.
Melt butter over low heat and add the flour gradually while stirring to ensure a smooth paste. Keep the heat very low.
Pour the milk little by little, at first, always stirring, to develop it into a creamy texture. Season, stir and remove from heat.