Saturday, July 09, 2005

my new invention: potato Béchamel

Don't harsh my mellow by telling me Someone Else has already thought of this. I'm pretty sure Someone Else has, but I want to relish this moment as my own.

Today I'm celebrating my poverty by making my quasi-French sauce, but with some subtle and not-so-subtle variations. For instance: a few days back, I bought a mess of vegetables, including way too much squash. Today, I decided to add some squash into the sauce, along with a bit of sugar-- something I hadn't tried before.

Both ingredients make a difference!

Having bought too many potatoes as well, I decided to try a different tack with the Béchamel sauce. The thickener in normal Béchamel is flour. What I did was to peel, chop, and boil two medium-sized potatoes, then mix them in the blender with a ton of milk, plus salt, pepper, basil, and a splash of olive oil. No butter. You're essentially making liquidy mashed potatoes.

And the results are fantastic. You end up with a rich, creamy, almost totally lump-free sauce. One disadvantage: once the sauce starts to cool down, its tuber pedigree becomes obvious to your taste buds. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's a reminder that you're not digging your way through a real Béchamel.

I imagine that, with a bit more milk, some onions, some butter, and some extra spices, you could make yourself a decent cream-of-potato soup.


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