Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Jacques Pepin's basic Bechamel

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and cook over low heat for about 1 minute, stirring with a whisk; do not let the mixture brown. Add the milk and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, then simmer over low heat for 1 minute. Add the cream, salt, white pepper, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

I've seen other bechamel recipes that add spices. M. Pepin seems to only add the particular spices necessary for each dish that he is creating, when he makes a small batch like this, such as nutmeg, or thyme. 

If one is making a larger quantity for general purpose use in a couple different sauces, I believe this basic recipe should do the trick. 

Note: I haven't made bechamel since I trained with Cordon Bleu chef, Peter Rideout, back in 1980. But this looks very similar to my basic country gravy.

Miscellaneous Musings

I just discovered there is a blog with almost the same title and address as mine. Just leave out the "s" in books and you'll find it. I think I may have to spend some time out there.

Insomnia strikes, so I spent a little time applying labels to blog posts here.

A while back, I had to pack up all my recipe books that I had out festooning the cupboard tops above the range and counters. There were probably 150 to 200 of them. I kept out a few I wanted to do some research for seafood ideas (we live at the beach in the heart of some great fisheries, with crab, salmon, razor clams, cherrystone clams, oysters, halibut and various bottom fish freshly available). That research being somewhat complete, now I need to get back into the boxes and see if I can dig out my books by Jacques Pepin - my hero. Probably the only celebrity who I'd really like to meet. I guess Emeril would be cool, too.