A reader wrote recently seeking a low carb version of Sauce Mornay, the classic creamy cheesy topper for steamed veggies and seafood and anything else you’d care to drizzle it over. Since it’s the height of the farmer’s market season and fresh veggies abound, it occurred to me that instead of just responding to one reader’s comment, there might be more of you out there missing the Mornay on your fresh broccoli spears.
The Mornay sauce, believed by most authorities to have been named in honor of the 16th/17th Century French writer and diplomat, Phillipe, duc de Mornay, is nothing more than Bechamel sauce plus cheese, classically Gruyere or a combination of Parmesan and Gruyere. And Bechamel is nothing more than butter, flour, milk, and seasonings, usually salt, white pepper, and fresh nutmeg. The only carb-challenging ingredient in the whole shebang is, of course, the flour, which you can either replace with a fiber thickener, such as ThickenThin not/Starch or by using cream instead of milk and reducing it even further to thicken the sauce, which would even be better (carb-wise) than the milk anyway.
So for those of you missing your Mornay, here’s the version that we use at home.
Low Carb Sauce Mornay
Makes about 2 cups of sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons* ThickenThin not/Starch
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 ounces grated cheese (Gruyere, Parmesan, White Cheddar, Emmenthaler, Fontina all would work well)
*Adjust the ThickenThin amount to achieve the thickness of sauce you desire. If you prefer not to use ThickenThin, put the cream into the pan, reduce it by half, and then add the butter, seasonings, and cheese, but realize that this will reduce the volume of the recipe by half, making only 1 cup of sauce Mornay and that you’ll have doubled the ECC cost per serving in doing so.
1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat.
2. Make a roux by adding the ThickenThin and whisking until smooth, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Do not let the roux brown.
3. Slowly whisk in the cream until the sauce becomes smooth and thick (2 or 3 minutes) but do not let it boil.
4. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and reduce heat to simmer for a couple of minutes. (At this point, you have made Bechamel. Stir in crumbled cooked sausage and you have sausage gravy. The problem now becomes making some low-carb buttermilk biscuits to go with the sausage gravy! But that’s another blog…on with the Mornay!)
5. Add the grated cheese(s) and stir until melted. Thin (if needed) with just a little milk and serve immediately atop steamed fresh veggies or seafood.
Protein per 1/8 cup serving: 2 grams
Effective Carbohydrate per 1/8 cup serving = 1 gram
Calories per 1/8 cup serving = 131.6
I’ve got some big fat spears of asparagus waiting in the fridge that would taste ever so lovely under a blanket of Sauce Mornay a la MD. That and a juicy roasted chicken and some fresh tomatoes sprinkled with coarse gray Celtic Salt and a big, refreshing glass of iced tea sounds like a winner for dinner tonight.