WHITE SAUCE – 10 Ways
I remember making bucket loads of béchamel (white sauce) when I was working as a chef for a variety of dishes such as lasagne, vegetable bakes, fish pie, moussaka, cheese sauces and soufflé. Typically the sauce was made by making a white roux (equal quantities of butter + flour gently cooked in a pot to a sandy texture) then pouring in hot milk whilst stirring to achieve a wonderful silky smooth white sauce. The milk was often scented with aromatics such onion, clove and bayleaf and sometimes a hint of nutmeg added that special touch. I’ve been inspired to take this simple sauce outside of it’s comfort zone and have decided to post my personal recipes of my 10 different ways I often make a white sauce in my kitchen at home. What I love about designing recipes is that to me traditional rules for cooking can be broken. Any diet or eating plan can be catered for just by choosing the right base ingredients and preparing it properly.
CHOOSE YOUR INGREDIENT
2 Spelt flour
3 Raw nuts
5 Silken tofu
8 Ricotta / soft cheese
9 White beans
Chop 1 whole cauliflower very fine and place into a large pot. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 cup (60 ml /2 fl oz) water and a little sea salt and white ground pepper. Cook for about 5 miinutes with a lid to lightly steam the cauliflower until just cooked through. Drain off any liquid if necessary and pop into a high performance blender like a Vitamix. Blend until smooth, creamy and silky. Use as required and thin down if necessary with your choice of milk ( almond, macadamia is great).
2 Spelt flour + butter (traditional roux style)
Melt 40 g (1 1/2 oz) quality butter in a pot over a low heat then add 40 g (1 1/2 oz) white spelt flour and cook through lightly. Gradually add 2 cups (500 ml / 17 fl oz) hot milk stirring briskly with a whisk or wooden spoon until you achieve the result of a smooth and creamy white sauce. Season with a little sea salt, white pepper and nutmeg and use as required. If you happen to have a high speed blender just throw all the raw ingredients into it – turn the machine on and let it do it’s magic for 5 minutes until the mixture is hot thick and creamy.
3 Nuts ( macadamia + cashew)
Sauté 1 leek until soft, combine into a high performance blender with 80 g (2 3/4 oz) raw cashew or macadamia nuts and 500 ml (2 cups / 17 fl oz) almond milk + a little nutmeg and sea salt. Blend until smooth and creamy then use as required.
Combine 1/2 cup (50 g / 1 3/4 oz) rolled quinoa with 2 cups (500 ml / 17 fl oz) your choice of milk. Cook in a small pot over a low heat until thick and creamy. Pour into a high performance blender and blend until creamy. Add aromatics such as nutmeg and season with a little sea salt.
5 Silken tofu
Combine 500 g (17 oz) silken tofu with 60 g (2 oz )raw cashew or macadamia nuts into a high speed blender. Blend until smooth and creamy and use as required.
Heat 2 cups (500 ml / 17 fl oz) of your choice of milk (dairy, rice, soy, nut) over a low heat along with 2 bay leaves, a little chopped onion and a hint of nutmeg. Simmer for 5 minutes then strain into a clean pot. Make a slurry (wet paste) by combining 2 tablespoons rice flour, 1 teaspoon arrowroot or cornflour and a little extra milk. Pour the slurry into the milk, whisking briskly until thickened and smooth. Adjust consitency as required. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1 organic egg yolk for extra richness if desired.
Combine 2 cups (500 ml / 17 fl oz) organic coconut milk with 80 – 100 g raw cashew nuts or macadamias into a high performance blender. Blend until smooth and creamy and use as required. Season to taste.
8 Ricotta / soft cheese
Blend 500 g (17 oz) ricotta cheese with a splash of water until creamy. Adjust consistency by adding more water. Season with a little nutmeg, sea salt and white peper and use as required. Other soft cheeses make lovely white sauces such as buffalo mozarella, marscapone, quark and cottage cheese.
9 White beans
Combine 1 cup (200 g /7 oz) cooked white cannelini beans with a little pan roasted onion, a little sea salt, nutmeg and 1 cup (250 ml / 8 1/2 fl oz) almond milk. Blend until smooth and creamy. You can also add lightly steamed cauliflower or fennel and 2 tablespoons olive oil for a little flavour variation.
10 Arrowroot or Kuzu
Heat 2 cups (500 ml / 17 fl oz) of your choice of milk (dairy, rice, soy, nut) over a low heat along with 2 bay leaves, a little chopped onion and a hint of nutmeg. Simmer for 5 minutes then strain into a clean pot. Make a slurry (wet paste) by combining 1 tablespoon arrowroot or kuzu and a little extra milk. Pour the slurry into the milk, whisking briskly until thickened and smooth. Adjust consitency as required.
WHITE SAUCE AROMATICS
Aromatics and seasoning add that extra special touch to a white sauce that take it to the next level. I love to vary my flavours depending on what I’m cooking. Roasted fennel and leek is delicious when combined with cauliflower white sauce in a fish pie – A little nutmeg and sea salt is all you need when combining ricotta into a silky smooth white sauce for lasagne.