Food - Drink
The Special Method That Will Change Your Béchamel Forever
By ERICA ANDREWS
Béchamel is a French white sauce that forms a creamy base for mac and cheese, chicken dishes, casseroles, other sauces, and more. Traditionally, the sauce is made using flour, butter, and milk, but Tasting Table recipe developer Susan Olayinka uses a special technique to give basic béchamel some extra flavor.
Olayinka adds an onion pique as a flavoring agent to her béchamel. An onion pique is just a halved onion with a bay leaf secured to it using a couple of whole cloves, and to make it, you just slice an onion in half, remove some of the layers from the piece you want to use, and pierce the bay leaf into the flesh.
Olayinka says that the pique “makes the dish feel much more gourmet” and “adds great flavor without being overwhelming." To make béchamel her way, melt butter over low heat in a saucepan, then whisk in the flour, stirring for two minutes before adding milk; whisk the mixture consistently until there are no lumps.
Once your sauce is smooth and lump-free, add more milk for thinner sauce, or let it cook a few minutes to make it thick. Lastly, place your onion pique into the pan and let it simmer for 10 minutes, then remove the pique before using the béchamel; you can also experiment with flavors like cheese, bacon, and mushrooms.