Freshly ground pepper
Small wedge of onion with a couple of cloves
One bay leaf
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks; don't let it brown — about 2 minutes. Add the milk slowly, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat. To cool this sauce for later use, cover it with wax paper or pour a film of milk over it to prevent a skin from forming.
Add a handful of chopped parsley to the bechamel to make your parsley sauce. Parsley sauce is also a great accompaniment to poached fish. This sauce can also be added to cream soups to give them a creamy texture without having to add much cream.
It is also the sauce used for Lasagna and Greek Moussaka. It has very much fallen out of favour in modern cuisine and a lot of cooks don't even know how to make it properly. With the new wave of Nouvelle Cuisine all of these base sauces became passe because of the use of so much flour in them. The emphasis was more on a leaner and cleaner taste without the heavy sauces. However they are still good to know and come in very handy.
This is a very handy sauce to know how make as it is one of the basic or 'mother' sauces. ( Sorry Mam) and it is the base for a lot of sauces like mornay cheese sauce, onion sauce ( add sweated onions) mustard sauce ( add a spoon or two of Dijon Mustard) and a variety of other basic sauces for use with mostly fish or vegetables. You don't want to keep it on the heat too long after it is cooked or the milk will curdle and ruin your sauce.
This translates roughly in " Sand Potatoes" and it is so called for this reason. The potatoes are diced and blanched and then refreshed in cold water. They are then sauteed in olive oil and finished with a knob of butter. You can also add some sliced bacon to this potato. When the potatoes are cooked you add some fresh white breadcrumbs and cook them with the potatoes until they soak up the butter and turn brown. Add a handful of parsley and serve. The breadcrumbs make them crunchy as if there were sandy. A nice change when you are trying to think of something new to do with the potatoes. This potato is a classic and goes back a very long time.