You can find 1000+ of my kitchen-tested recipes using the Recipes tab, watch nearly 100 of my Kitchen Encounters/WHVL-TV segments using the TV Videos tab, join the discussion about all of my creations using the Facebook tab, or Email your questions and comments directly to me--none go unanswered. Have fun!


~ A Classic Mornay (Gruyère and Parmesan) Sauce ~

IMG_0839The modern-day Mornay sauce we enjoy is a béchamel sauce (a classic, French roux-based cream sauce, not to mention the last of the original, five French mother sauces to be invented). Shredded Gruyère and grated Parmesan cheeses get melted into the béchamel at the end.  I like to refer to this easy-to-prepare "secondary sauce" ("a spin-off" of one of the originals) as: "the mother of all cheese sauces."  That said, named after the Duke of Mornay (who lived during the late 16th and early 17th Centuries), the sauce was originally prepared using a velouté sauce (a slightly-thinner, stock-based sauce thickened by a white roux), because béchamel hadn't been invented yet. The new-to-them béchamel, rich with cream or milk (instead of stock), gave it a luxurious, silky texture -- it was quickly recognized by professional chefs as an improvement.  

IMG_2537 IMG_3032A common variation on Mornay is cheddar sauce, substituting white or yellow* cheddar for Gruyère -- this kid-friendly version was one of my secret weapons, as I used it to top veggies and as a sauce for my stovetop mac and cheese.  Eggs Mornay, a variation on the classic eggs Benedict is superb, but, WARNING, Mornay is frowned upon as a sauce for fish or seafood.

Variations on Mornay sauce -- they vary slightly, not a lot.

When making Mornay sauce, chefs use hard or semi-hard cheeses exclusively -- cheeses that grate or shred relatively easily.  Soft, sticky cheeses like, brie, blue, goat and fresh mozzarella, or wet cheeses like cottage and ricotta, simply do not melt to the proper creamy consistency.  Now is not the time to count calories or cut back on fat either.  When choosing cheese, avoid the words "half the calories" and "lower in fat", and, use only dairy cream, half-and-half or whole milk.

*A classic French Mornay sauce is made w/white-colored cheeses & ingredients:

IMG_07764  tablespoons salted butter

4  tablespoons all-purpose, unbleached flour

1/4  teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2  teaspoon salt

1/2  teaspoon white pepper

2 1/2  cups whole milk, plus an additional 1/4-1/2 cup milk, if necessary, to adjust consistency at the end of the cooking process

1 small, yellow or sweet onion (about 5-6 ounces)

4  whole cloves

2 small, whole, bay leaves

8  ounces shredded Gruyère cheese (about 2 cups)

4  ounces finely-grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)

IMG_0778 IMG_0778 IMG_0778 IMG_0778~Step 1.  Peel a small onion and "stud" it with the cloves ("push them in like thumb tacks").  In a small bowl, stir together the flour, nutmeg, salt and white pepper.  Using a hand-held box grater, shred the Gruyère, and, using a microplane grater, finely-grate the Parmesan.

IMG_0789 IMG_0789 IMG_0789 IMG_0789~Step 2.  In a 3-quart saucier, melt butter over low heat.  Add the seasoned flour.  Whisk constantly until flour is incorporated into butter and a thick, pasty mixture has formed, about 30 seconds.  Continue to whisk for another 1-1 1/2 minutes, lowering the heat if necessary, to keep the roux from browning -- this additional cooking time will remove the raw flour taste.

IMG_0795 IMG_0795 IMG_0795 IMG_0795~Step 3. Adjust heat to medium-low and slowly drizzle in the milk, whisking constantly, to work out any lumps.  Add the onion, clove-studded-side-down, then the bay leaves.  Allow mixture to come to a simmer, whisking constantly, 3-4 minutes. Continue to simmer, whisking constantly, an additional 3-4 minutes, until a nicely-thickened and smooth béchamel sauce has formed.

IMG_0807 IMG_0807 IMG_0807 IMG_0807~Step 4.  Adjust heat to low.  Add the Gruyère and Parmesan cheeses to the saucier and whisk constantly until cheese is completely melted and sauce is smooth, 2-3 minutes.  Whisk in additional milk, in small increments, only if necessary, until desired consistency is reached. Remove onion and bay leaves.  Use sauce as directed in recipe.  You will have 1-quart.

Rich & ready to be used in any recipe requiring cheese sauce: 

IMG_0834A classic Mornay (Gruyère and Parmesan Sauce:  Recipe yields 1 quart/4 cups Mornay sauce. Gently reheat room temperature leftover in the microwave, stirring occasionally and adjusting consistency by adding additional milk.

Special Equipment List:  2-cup measuring container; hand-held box grater; microplane grater or food processor; 3-quart saucier or saucepan; whisk; large spoon

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d23924fb970cCook's Note: Béchamel looks a lot like Mornay (it's pictured here in the same ramekin, with the same background).  It's not perhaps my favorite of the five mother sauces, it is my favorite.  ~ Plain, Simple, Unpretentious Basic White Sauce ~.  Read the post. 

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017) 


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment