- 1 onion
- 8 cloves
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- ¼ nutmeg, for grating
- 8 black peppercorns
- 700ml whole milk
- 125g (5 thick slices) freshly made white breadcrumbs
- 30g unsalted butter
- 4 tbsp double cream
Peel the onion, half it and then spike it with the cloves.
Put the spiked onion into a medium saucepan with the bay leaves, milk, peppercorns, a few scrapings of finely grated nutmeg and 3 generous pinches of sea salt.
Place the pan on a high heat and bring to the boil – keep a close eye on it as milk comes to the boil very suddenly. Reduce to low heat and simmer very gently for 5 minutes to let the flavours infuse. Take off the heat, cover the pan and leave in a warm place for the milk to infuse for two hours or more.
When you’re ready to make the sauce, strain the milk through a sieve into a jug, discarding everything left behind in the sieve. Make your breadcrumbs by pulsing them in a food processor until you have coarse breadcrumbs.
Return the milk to the pan on medium heat and simmer, gradually stirring in the breadcrumbs until you’ve used them all up. Add the butter and cream to the pan, stir well, then have a taste and season with a little more salt and pepper, if needed.
After about 15 minutes the crumbs will have swollen and thickened the sauce. Now, the final consistency is up to you! Add more bread if it’s too runny, or loosen with more milk if it’s too thick!