The stock you use for this sauce will depend on what you’re planning to serve it with. For seafood, I suggest either clam or shrimp broth. For my shrimp with bechamel (Camarones con bechamel), I used 2 cups of water and one teaspoon of clam base. (For the bechamel needed in a chicken pot pie, use chicken stock of course.) I used one pound of raw unpeeled shrimp for this recipe. I peeled the shrimp and added the peels to the onion. This recipe makes enough sauce for about 4 servings.
- 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 cups stock
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp unbleached wheat flour
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- grated nutmeg to taste (optional)
1) In the saucepan combine onion and stock and heat to a rolling boil. Cover, turn off heat, and let onion flavor infuse into stock for 30 minutes or so. Strain, reserving broth.
2) In saucepan over medium heat melt butter in the oil, add the flour, and cook for about two minutes, stirring at regular intervals.
3) Add strained broth while whisking to avoid lumps. For the sauce to thicken, bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally.
4) Add remaining ingredients, turn off the heat, and taste for seasoning. Pour-over, or combine with, meat, seafood, or vegetables, or use in the pot pie.
Since seafood cooks quickly, you can cook it directly in the sauce by adding it at step 3.
I like to brighten up bechamel with cooked diced carrot or red bell pepper (as in pot pie). For the dish in the photo, I used a raw cilantro sauce to both garnishes the dish and add extra flavor. Make this by processing a bunch of cilantro in a food processor.
Then add salt and lemon juice to taste and, with the machine running, slowly add olive oil until a smooth and runny consistency is achieved. (Lemon juice will not curdle bechamel sauce as long as you used my heavy cream method and not milk.)