For Bold And Zesty Bechamel, Try Adding Dijon Mustard

What do mac and cheese, Italian lasagne, enchiladas Suisas, and chicken pot pie all have in common? Bechamel sauce. The basic white sauce made from flour, butter, and milk adds a creamy texture to those dishes and many more and is a kitchen essential you should get to know. In this case, "basic" is a good thing, because the sauce will take on the unique flavors of each dish with ease. But if a plain flour and milk sauce seems too boring, we've got just the right addition: Dijon mustard.

The Dijon region of France is famous for its bold mustard, which has a spicier flavor than its American cousin, yellow mustard, due to a higher amount of mustard seed and a bit more acid in the formula. Just a dash of Dijon mustard will add interest to plain bechamel without becoming detracting or overwhelming. The spice, acid, and salt work with the starch and butter of the sauce in a way that works with most recipes that start with white sauce.

Spice up your cooking

Adding Dijon mustard to your next white sauce could not be more simple. After you've stirred in all the milk and the bechamel has simmered to the proper thickness, simply stir in the mustard until it's all incorporated with no streaks of yellow remaining. One tablespoon of Dijon is plenty for a recipe that makes about 2 cups of sauce. As always, let your tastebuds be the guide.

Depending on what you've made the bechamel sauce for, you may want to up the mustard flavor. We like a Classic Croque Monsieur sandwich; the ham and cheese sandwich that gets a thick layer of bechamel topped with gruyere toasted under the broiler. The inside of the sandwich often has Dijon mustard, so adding a bit more to the sauce ups the tangy mustard goodness. Dijon also amps up the flavor of pot pie filling. Creamy homemade mac and cheese benefits from the mustard flavor as well. It's hard to go wrong with zesty Dijon mustard.