Onion Pique: A French Culinary Technique To Turn Sauces Into A Masterpiece
Bonjour reader! Feeling a little French-ie today? I am going to share about Onion Pique (French - oignon pique) on this blog.
Do you know what an onion pique is, to begin with?
Onion Pique is a traditional French culinary technique, designating a type of onions preparation where it is used to add flavor to sauces and stocks with no color or texture added.
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What is Onion Pique?
Some said onion pique; some said onion clouté as the clouté means spiked in French! Onion pique is simply a made up combination of onion, bay leaves, and cloves. There is one or more bay leaves attached to half of an onion with a few whole cloves were pushed through the bay leaves into the onion. YES, just like how you push a thumb tack!
As mentioned, the onion pique is a technique that used widely in French culinary. For example in a béchamel sauce- instead of using chopped onion which would end up leaving onion pieces in the sauce, but an onion pique/ clouté is used.
How to Make an Onion Pique?
Why Use an Onion Pique?
Using an onion pique is to helped ease in culinary technique where they would be easily removed from the dish once they have been infused.
What are the Other French Culinary Technique?
There are a few well-known techniques in French culinary, other than onion pique another is known onion Brule (French- oignon Brule), the “burnt onion” technique.
Onion Brule is a peeled onion which is cut into half and is cooked in a pan until the edges, and the surface is well toasted. The onion Brule is used to give color in broths and consommés, and its flavor does not overtake with the final result of the dish.
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Hands on Making Béchamel- the Recipe
Recipe courtesy of Mario Batali
Ingredients you need:
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Heat the butter over medium-low heat until fully melted in a medium saucepan. Then add in the flour and stir until smooth consistency. Continue cooking on the medium heat until the mixture turns to light golden sandy in color which would take about 6 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan heat the milk until just about to boil. Then add the hot milk to the butter mixture, one cup at a time, always stir until the consistency is smooth enough and cook until boil. This should be approximately 10 minutes and remove from heat once the mixture is well incorporated.
Lastly, season the Béchamel with salt and nutmeg, set aside, and it is ready to use!
For better step by step recipe, check out the YouTube link “How to Make Béchamel Sauce” by Mario Batali.
Béchamel Sauce Shelf Life
Béchamel sauce can be kept 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator. Store it in the freezer if you are not planning to use the sauce at any time soon.
Be sure that you place a cling wrap directly in contact with the surface of the sauce and close tightly with the lid cover before refrigerating it.
By doing this is to prevent oxidation of the sauce inside the fridge otherwise a thin layer of the dry-skin-like surface can be noticed.
Seven Ways to Use Béchamel Sauce
So now that you have learned how to make perfect Béchamel sauce, but wonder what you should cook with the sauce now? Here are the seven ways to use the Béchamel sauce:
Do you have a party that you would need to feed a crowd or need to satisfy a hard-to-please eater? Lasagne with Béchamel sauce base is always a perfect option! Click here for the recipe.
- Parsley sauce
Once you have mastered the béchamel sauce, then the key to making the creamy parsley sauce should be no problem at all! The parsley sauce is great served with poached salmon, or even good with grilled meat! Click here for the recipe.
- Soup and chowder
Béchamel is the perfect way to make creamy soup and chowder. YUMM, just the name of it is already enough to make me crave for some chowder!! Click here for the recipe.
- Tuna Mornay
This is my all-time favorite dish to make with Béchamel sauce! It is very easy and super-duper OH so delicious. Tuna Mornay gets its name from its signature white sauce with herbs & spices, and lots of cheese are added. Click here for the recipe.
- Chicken pie
YUMM… My stomach has begun to rumble! The best way to use Béchamel sauce is in a creamy chicken pie. Prepare the creamy sauce with plenty of greens and serve it right up fresh from the oven while it is still piping hot! Click here for the recipe.
- Fish pie
Some people would not prefer fish pie, but a classic fish pie is a fantastic food! Make your well-mastered Béchamel sauce and paired it up with perfect creamy mashed potato to make the perfect fish pie! It is simple, yet it can be a complete meal for one! Click here for the recipe.
- Pasta bake
Again, another pasta bake recipe with Béchamel sauce! Pasta bake is similar to the lasagne which top with cheesy Béchamel! It is a very simple recipe which you can check it out here.
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Interesting French Cooking Terms You Should Know
This blog is about onion pique the French culinary technique, and I also want to share with you a few simple French cooking terms that I reckoned every home chef as you should know! You have just learned the term Béchamel.
“Julienne” refers to a particular culinary knife cutting skill which a standard julienne cut should result in 1/8 x 1/8 x 2 inches pieces.
“Blanch” is a wonder technique that could do all kinds of great things to the food ingredients. For example, it makes fruit and vegetables easier to peel. Also, it leeches the bitterness out of veggies like kale.
So how do you do it? Easy!! All you need are a slotted spoon, a bucket of ice water and a pot of hot boiling water and then all you have to do is to put in the food that you are “blanching” into the boiling water. Then plunge the food into the bucket of ice water. VOILA! Happy Blanching!
“Sautéing” refers to the process of cooking something over the high heat with particular types of fats, usually butter.
Want to Know More?
I hope you have learn more about onion pique after reading this article and you also picked up some recipes that you love or some cooking terms that you have always wanted to find out from our blog.
If you wish to learn about more French Culinary terms, you may click on this link here.
Time for me to go as I need to make some onion pique for Béchamel sauce for dinner!