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Saturday, February 23, 2013

White Sauce Recipe For One

I have one cookbook -- allegedly aimed at college kids who will be cooking for themselves for the first time (though it still is full of 6-serving recipes) -- that gives a recipe for what it calls "Béchamel Sauce" and proceeds to give a recipe for what I'd call White Sauce. As I was taught, White Sauce is a rather bland roux-and-milk concoction (my great-grandfather, who hated the stuff, referred to it as "bill-stickers paste") whereas Béchamel is made from that same basis but is more heavily seasoned.

White Sauce is nevertheless important to know, because Béchamel sauce (recipe) is not the only thing you can make out of it. One of my favorite cookbooks, the long out of print Cooking For One, gives this recipe for making about 1 cup of White Sauce:

1 tbs margarine or butter
1 tbs all-purpose flour
dash salt
dash pepper
1 cup milk 
In a small heavy saucepan, melt the margarine or butter. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper till blended. [Editor's Note: use a whisk or wire spring stirrer so it doesn't get lumpy!] Add milk all at once, Cook and stir over medium heat till mixture is thickened and bubbly, then cook and stir for 1 minute more. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Makes about 1 cup.
I'm sure we will be reading plenty more about White Sauce here in the future. Along with being doctored up to make other sauces, it's also used on its own as a glue and a flavoring for other foods. You can see some of my past experiments with this sauce over on Vintage Cookbook Trials where I wrote about how to make White Sauce and Watercress Sauce.

In a pinch, white sauce and its variations can be substituted for mayonnaise in sauces, salads and sandwiches. It's a good way to use up leftover white sauce, as well as to reduce fat in these recipes.

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