- Yield: Makes 4 cups
- 1 tablespoon diced shallots
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 quart whole milk, scalded
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup grated Gruyere
In a large saucepan, saute shallots in butter over medium heat until translucent, without browning, 3 to 5 minutes.
Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne. Mix; reduce heat as much as possible.
Add flour in thirds, whisking constantly. When fully incorporated, cook without browning, 3 to 5 minutes, until floury taste is gone.
Strain through a sieve; add cheese while bechamel is still hot. Adjust seasoning to taste. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of sauce, and refrigerate up to three days.