English Parsley Sauce

Yes, it's old-fashioned nursery food, but I sometimes think that things like this need a revival. I love it with baked cod cutlets and creamy mashed potatoes, and it's also excellent with gammon, but most especially I love it with Salmon Fishcakes (See related recipe below).

Makes about 15 fl oz (425 ml)

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book One and has also appeared in Sainsbury's Magazine (May 1994)

English Parsley Sauce
 15 fl oz (425 ml) milk
 a few parsley stalks
 1 bay leaf
 1 slice onion, ¼ inch (5 mm) thick
 1 blade of mace or a pinch of powdered mace (optional)
 10 whole black peppercorns
 ¾ oz (20 g) plain flour
 1½ oz (40 g) butter
 4 heaped tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
 1 tablespoon single cream
 1 teaspoon lemon juice
 salt and freshly milled black pepper


Place the milk and the next five ingredients in a small pan, bring everything slowly up to simmering point, then pour the mixture into a bowl and leave aside to get completely cold. 

When you're ready to make the sauce, strain the milk back into the pan, discard the flavourings, then add the flour and butter and bring everything gradually up to simmering point, whisking continuously with a balloon whisk until the sauce has thickened and is smooth and glossy. Then turn the heat down to its lowest possible setting and let the sauce cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. 

To serve the sauce, add the chopped parsley, cream and lemon juice, taste and season, then serve in a warm jug.

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