Sauce Bechamel is the classic white sauce the French refer to as the “mother sauce”. It is fairly basic and neutral and is great with chicken, fish and vegetables to really bring out delicate flavors. I think everyone should learn to make this well. It has the power to turn a simple weeknight meal into something splendid!
Sauce Mornay is enhanced from Sauce Bechamel by adding cheese to finish.
Although the recipes appear simple, heat control and care must be exercised to get the best outcome from your sauce. I promise you, you will not be disappointed!
We start with a saucepan set over low heat to melt butter.
Once your butter is melted, we add the tapioca flour to begin forming the roux, our flour-butter mixture. This cannot be done at high heat or the flour will burn.
After about a minute with continuous stirring, you should have a nice frothy roux that has not been discolored.
Take the saucepan off heat and pour in the hot almond milk and whisk until all the flour is well combined. Then return the saucepan to heat until it is boiling. You should have a beautiful thick white sauce. This is Sauce Bechamel.
At this point, you may stop and season with salt and pepper and serve this sauce as is. Or you can create Sauce Mornay from here by adding freshly grated swiss cheese and whisking to combine. Do not overdo the cheese or you will end up with a stringy instead of creamy sauce.
The sauce can be served immediately. If you need to keep it warm, do this over very low heat and leave a think layer of melted butter on top of the sauce so that it doesn’t curdle. When you are ready to serve, you can whisk some butter into your sauce.
This recipe yields 2 cups and you can refrigerate leftover sauce to be reheated for another meal.
Sauce Bechamel and Sauce Mornay
- 2 TBSP butter
- 3 TBSP tapioca flour
- 2 cups of almond milk + pinch of salt, warming up in another saucepan
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup of swiss cheese if making Sauce Mornay
- Additional 1-2 TBSP butter to finish
- In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter
- Add flour and whisk to combine, heating for 1 minute until we get a frothy white roux. Do not let the roux discolor
- Take saucepan off heat, add hot milk and whisk until flour is dissolved and is not clumpy
- Return to heat and continue stirring until sauce is thick and bubble, about 2 minutes
- If making Bechamel, you may stop here and season and serve. Otherwise, add cheese and stir until it is all combined
- Season with salt and pepper
- The sauce can be served immediately or it can be kept warm until ready to serve. Whisk the additional butter into the sauce just before serving.
Tonight, I used my Sauce Mornay on some asparagus (lightly fried on a pan for 5-8 minutes to retain maximum nutritional value). It was simply divine!