Croque Monsieur meet Croque Madame

When the days are short and the nights are cold, comfort food feeds the soul. The Croque Monsieur is an all star French Bistro classic – elevating ham and cheese to glorious heights! The Monsieur is decadent, rich and comforting.
Perfect for breakfast, lunch or supper. Toasted bread, creamy nutmeg tinged béchamel, golden bubbly cheese and salty ham makes every bite delicious. The addition of a gooey fried egg morphs the Monsieur into the decadent Madame for a gender changing treat!

Serves 4

Ingredients
5 tablespoons sweet butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2cups coarsely grated Gruyere cheese (or a combination of Swiss & Gruyere. Trader Joe’s sells very serviceable shredded combo-package)
8 slices pain de mie or a firm white sandwich bread
1 ½  tablespoons  Dijon mustard
½ pound thinly sliced cooked ham (preferably Black Forest)
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter for frying eggs

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Preparation

Make Béchamel Sauce:
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a 2 quart heavy saucepan (I love my All-Clad for this!) over moderately low heat.  When butter has melted, add flour quickly and cook roux, whisking for 3 minutes. Add milk and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Continue cooking for 5 minutes whisking occasionally to prevent burning.  Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and 1/3 cup cheese.  Stir until cheese has melted. Remove from heat and if not using immediately cover with parchment or waxed paper.  If you make sauce in advance and reheat you may need to thin the sauce with a tablespoon or 2 of milk.

Make Sandwiches
Preheat Broiler to high. Place rack in upper third of oven.

Place 4 slices bread on a parchment or Silpat- lined baking sheet.  Butter the tops of each slice of bread. Broil until barely golden.  Remove from oven and flip bread slices over. Spread mustard onto all 4 bread slices. Add ham and cheese(reserving some cheese for sprinkling on top of béchamel) and place remaining 4 slices of bread.
*If you have a bit of extra time, I love pan frying the sandwiches in lots of butter. Flip when golden and the cheese has melted. Then proceed to put under broiler with béchamel and cheese. This method allows for crisp exterior and soft interior. 

Bon Appétit!

Comments

  1. Stacy says

    I remember when Croque Monsieur was made in a scallop press and then put under a salamander with bechamel and cheese. We may have to meet up in Pareee to conduct some serious research!!!

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