Recipe by Local Roots recipe contributor, Chef Casey Corn @casey_corn
Having a classic bechamel recipe in your back pocket is great thing for any chef or home cook to have. It's the basis of so many great dishes (mac and cheese, lasagna, croque madame/monsieur, etc) and it's soooo easy to make your own with different infusions! After I've made my ramps butter for the year, ramps bechamel is always next!
Makes about a pint
1 bu ramps
3 c whole milk
¼ c unsalted butter
¼ c all purpose flour
5 ea whole cloves
1 ea bay leaf
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ground white pepper
1. Trim roots and leaves off of the ramps, leaving the bulb and stem. Save the greens. Cut through the center of the bulb parallel to the stem, up to where it narrows. Rotate it 90 degrees, and make the same cut, forming a cross through the bulb and opening it up.
2. Add ramps bulbs to a medium pot, with milk, cloves, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Place over low heat, infusing the flavors without bringing to a simmer. Infuse at least 10 minutes.
3. Chop ramps greens up finely. Set aside.
4. In a large saucepan or medium pot, melt the butter, then add the flour. Whisk to combine, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook out the flour, at least 5-7 minutes. The roux can get foamy, but don’t let it get any color.
5. One cup at a time, strain milk mixture through a sieve into the roux. Whisk until milk is incorporated and sauce is thickened before adding the next cup.
6. When the last cup of milk has been incorporated, and sauce is thickened, stir in ramps greens, or a tablespoon of ramps butter.
7. Use in place of béchamel in any recipe, like croque monsieurs, lasagna, etc.
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