This is the sauce I mentioned in the Broccoli post yesterday, and no, I hadn’t posted it. So here you go. This is one of the five “Mother Sauces.” In traditional culinary training, students first master these mother sauces and then use them to create literally hundreds of variations. Béchamel is the basic “white sauce” and is used in many popular dishes. I’ll admit, this is not the most thrilling lesson ever, but it is an important one as far as building a solid foundation of classic culinary skills.
As far as product recommendations go, make sure you have a decent sauce pan to make this in. Don’t use cheap pans, since they have very thin bottoms and the sauce will scorch. In the clip, I used this 4-qt. Stainless Sauce Pan, and it should work for you too. Also, a Wire Whisk is a must, but you probably have one of those already. Lastly, you’re going to see me grate fresh nutmeg into the sauce. If you’ve never done this, you’ve never really tasted nutmeg! The ground stuff in the grocery stores goes stale very quickly and really loses its flavor.
1 quart milk
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup flour
salt and cayenne pepper to taste
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
4 springs fresh thyme