Cycle 14 – Item 188
12 (Wed) July 2023
Patate alla Besciamella
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
with IZ, DJ, and DJ’s friends
The Gamja Project (9)
In this series, I cook potato dishes using freshly harvest gamja gifted to us from a neighboring farmer at the cabin (for more background and related posts, see THE GAMJA PROJECT).
Having previously noted that béchamel sauce is French in origin (see 12.133 Tagliatelle in Mushroom-Truffle Béchamel Sauce), I take it back, sort of. Cobbling together bits from various sources, I’m now inclined to think that it was born in Italy, around the early 1500s in the form of salsa colla (glue sauce), which was used as a binding agent underlying other dishes. The sauce may have been introduced to the French court when Catherine de Medici of Italy married King Henry II of France in 1547 and took up residence there, along with her entourage, presumably including chefs. In 1651, the first known recipe for the sauce was published in the cookbook Le Cuisinier François by François Pierre de la Varenne, who named it after Louis de Béchameil, an official in the court of King Louis XIV. In 1833, Antonin Carême – famed chef who was known at the time as “the king of chefs and the chef of kings,” who also introduced the iconic toque hat – first codified the mother sauces (“les grandes sauces”) in his seminal cookbook L‘Art de la Cuisine Française au XIX Siécle, including béchamel. Now referred to in Italian as “besciamella.”
Patate all Besciamella is an Italian dish. Sliced potatoes, covered in besciamella sauce, topped with cheese, baked in the oven.
I followed the recipe from The Silver Spoon.
It turned out quite nicely. The cheese crust was crispy and savory, while the potatoes underneath were silky and creamy. One of my best gratin dishes ever.
3.7 kg of potatoes remaining.
(See also THE SILVER SPOON)
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)