This classic white sauce should be part of any cook’s repertoire. Enhance the sauce with your own choice of flavourings.
Slice the onion into a saucepan with the slicing drum on the rotor vegetable slicer/shredder on speed 4. Add the clove, peppercorns, bay leaf, blade of mace, parsley stalks and milk. Bring to the boil over a gentle heat, then immediately remove from the heat, cover and infuse for 15 minutes.
Strain the milk and discard the flavourings. Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan, sprinkle in the flour and stir to mix. Cook over a gentle heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually add the milk and keep stirring until the sauce is smooth.
Cook the béchamel for 5 minutes over a low heat to cook out the flour and thicken the sauce. Remove from the heat and add a flavouring of your choice or use as is. Cover the béchamel with clingfilm if you are not planning to use it immediately; this will prevent a skin from forming on the surface as it cools.
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