There often exists some confusion as to who actually created certain inventions especially if they prove to be very successful, as is the case of the Béchamel sauce.   However, the most credible theory seems to be that this recipe was created by the French chef Francoise Pierre de la Varenne, who was employed in the Court of Luis XIV.  The head of the Court at that time was the Marquis Louis de Béchamel, and so, the sauce was named in his honor.  However, there are others who attribute the merit to the Marquis himself who developed the béchamel sauce to season a dish of dry cod.

It is easy to prepare the béchamel. Begin with a flour base (either wheat or corn) and fry in olive oil or butter and then add milk.  Continue stirring to avoid the formation of lumps and until the sauce acquires the proper thickness for the dish with which it will be served.  A touch of nutmeg is usually added. Some chefs choose to fry the sauce with a little chopped onion before adding the flour.

For some dishes, the béchamel becomes more than just an accompanying sauce and represents the true essence of the dish itself, as is the case of croquettes.  When we prepare the croquettes at Botín we cook the béchamel with chicken and ham and therein lies the secret of its great success, making it one of the most popular appetizers in our restaurant.  Be sure to try them.

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