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Monday, March 4, 2013

Single Serving Béchamel Sauce

(Actually makes 1 to 2 servings depending how you utilize it.)

You need:
1/2 cup White Sauce
1/4 tsp garlic paste
dash nutmeg

Onion can be used instead of the garlic, and clove can be used instead of the nutmeg. Many recipes for Béchamel would simmer a bay leaf in the mix, but since those are usually for making much bigger amounts of the sauce than we are doing here, I left it out.

Béchamel (or occasionally written Béchamelle) is named for Louis de Béchamel, a financier who held an honorary post as the chief steward of King Louis XIV's household. He was probably not the actual inventor of the sauce, however -- it's speculated that the head chef of the royal court, François Pierre de la Varenne, was the real creator. The early version of Béchamel was made with animal fat instead of butter, and some versions are very heavily seasoned -- a recipe from the 1840s in The Practical Cook uses carrot, onion, shallots, parsley, thyme, bay leaves and basil to flavor it. A recipe from the 1750s in Les Soupers de la Cour uses ham, mushrooms, garlic, shallots, cloves, bay leaves, basil and butter to make it. 

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