Béchamel Sauce – Silver Spoon

Serves 4

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2-1/4 cup milk
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Pour in all the milk, whisking constantly until it starts to boil. Season with salt, lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes. Béchamel sauce should not taste floury. Remove the pan from the heat.Taste, add salt if necessary, and season with pepper and/or nutmeg. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more milk. If too runny, return to the heat and add a pat of butter mixed with an equal quantity of all-purpose flour. Making this delicious sauce, considered a basic sauce because of the numerous variations to which it has given rise, is an essential skill for anyone keen to cook. For a richer béchamel sauce, replace half the milk with the same amount of heavy cream; for a lighter béchamel sauce, add half milk and half water.

From “The Silver Spoon.” Copyright © 2005 Phaidon Press Ltd. Reprinted with permission by Phaidon Press Ltd.

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