There bechamel is one of the basics of classic cuisine: indispensable for season and tie a thousand dishes, from lasagna to gratins, and a starting ingredient for more complex recipes such as soufflés or croquettes.
In short: the bechamel it is the sauce that one cannot avoid being able to do, the test on which the aspiring competitor of a culinary talent such as the cook or the home cook often "falls".
The shortcut to béchamel sauce ready, packaged in brick, it is frowned upon by gourmets mainly because it concerns "heavy" products on the palate, due to the presence of cream, but without butter which, in the traditional recipe, is the ingredient that confers the distinctive, soft and round taste .
So it's time to learn, or review doses and technique the perfect bechamel. And how recover if, unfortunately, it was ruined.
1. Dose the ingredients
The magic formula, as the cooking manuals teach, is: 50 g of butter, 50 g of flour, 5 dl of milk. But that of bechamel is a recipe that can be adjusted. Answering the question: what do you need?
For soufflé and especially, croquettes it must be very firm to withstand the addition of subsequent ingredients, from cheese to diced salami, and to maintain body and shape.
If, on the other hand, you want to veil the layers of baked pasta, which needs a certain humidity to cook, you will have to have a softer, almost fluid sauce, especially if the pastry is of the type you cook directly without pre-cooking.
A middle ground is the right one for fennel, ribs, cauliflower or other vegetables and preparations to pass under the grill.
To get the desired density, learn to play on the amount of butter and flour: 10-20 g more or less will greatly change the final consistency.
The French name of the mix of butter and flour denounces the origin of this as of many other basic preparations.
The transition is quite simple but crucial. In a saucepan thoroughly (to avoid the inconvenience referred to in point 4) dissolve a moderate fire butter, without absolutely frying it. As soon as it is liquid pour in one shot flour, stirring with a wooden spoon. A sort of is formed instantly batter that you have to keep mixing for about 1 minute until it takes on a color slightly golden and start at sizzle. This step is important for cook the flour otherwise, it retains an unpleasant taste (raw, in fact), but must not be prolonged in order not to have a toasted béchamel.
3. Pour in the milk
Hot, cold or at room temperature?
If it's of refrigerator, the thermal shock is likely to form in the small roux lumps difficult to dissolve.
The risk is reduced if the milk is at room temperature, but we need to act big speed.
Easier if you use milk warm: heat it over low heat before starting preparation, but just barely, without absolutely boiling it.
pour flush, not too quickly, and at the same time turn the roux over, to dilute it, using one hand whisk and scraping the bottom of the pan well.
4. Always stir
Now start cooking the sauce during which the béchamel sauce will thicken.
It goes always mixed, to taste with a whisk or a wooden spoon, and always scraping the bottom and arriving well in the corners in the pan; also, at this stage, hold the low flame it is imperative: two essential precautions because the bechamel sticks easily and the clotted part on the bottom (if not even burnt) invariably ruins the sauce.
The bechamel is ready at the first hint of a boil: the fluid version will veil the spoon, the dense one will collect easily.
5. The dressing
Till now the sauce is neutral.
Off the heat, flavor it with a pinch of salt and the traditional grated of nutmeg, for many an essential aroma.
Then, according to the recipe, it can be enriched with grated cheese, which will melt with the residual heat, pepper black or white, or others spices to obtain, why not, a saffron, turmeric or curry béchamel.
And finally, the 3 remedies to recover it
With a little practice, this refined sauce becomes simpler to make. But the drawbacks I'm always on the prowl.
The first is, of course, the lump formation: if they are few, you can recover the sauce by passing it on sieve; if they are numerous, you can try to dissolve them with a few strokes immersion mixer, fast and at not too high speed.
If it is attached (you can feel it from the aroma it releases), in addition to further lowering the flame, stop immediately to scrape the bottom.
As soon as the sauce has thickened, remove it from the heat and travasatela in a container avoiding to pour the last two fingers, which preserve more the burnt taste.
If you have to do it cool down, cover it with cling film or baking paper in contact. Or, still hot, "polish" it by passing over a peanut of butter that will melt forming a thin protective layer.
If not, it will form one pellicina on the surface: do not break it and do not mix it with the rest of the sauce (it would divide into lumps), but lift it and eliminate it.
Good béchamel sauce at all.
Francesca Romana Mezzadri