I needed to make the béchamel sauce for another dish on the menu this week: the croque-monsieur.
This gave the opportunity to do not one recipe, but two. Many dishes use this sauce, and in general I refrain from making these because they can be time consuming. This simple and quick béchamel sauce is as fast as it is going to be while preserving the flavors and taking no shortcut. I used a minimal amount of ingredients (no ground nutmeg, no salt), you can add them to the recipe if you wish.
Making a simple and quick béchamel sauce presents one challenge: avoiding the formation of lumps. The method to keep a smooth sauce and avoid lumps is to add the milk very slowly, especially at the beginning. In that sense, the technique is similar to making an aïoli by hand. If you add the oil too fast, you can never get it to solidify and take shape. Another example: when mixing wasabi and soy sauce, it’s important to add very little soy sauce at the start. This avoid the lumps. If you keep this one thing in mind and the heat not too high, you are set for success.
Simple and quick béchamel sauce
- Melt the butter on slow to medium heat in a pot.
- Add the flour and mix with the butter
- Slowly add in the milk, especially at the beginning, to avoid and minimize the formation of lumps. As the sauce becomes more liquid you may add the remainder of the milk faster.
- Continue stirring for 5 minutes.
- Use immediately