A croque monsieur is a classic French sandwich, oozing with richness and spectacular flavor. The French know a thing or two about cheese and sauces, and this sandwich perfectly demonstrates that. I love ordering a croque monsieur at a classic brasserie with greens. It is a decadent meal that I thought was too difficult to attempt myself on this side of the Atlantic. Difficult without Keith. I introduced Keith to my beloved sandwich one afternoon at a brasserie in Manhattan. As we were savoring each rich gooey bite, I could see the wheels turning in his head; he was figuring out how to make it at home. Much to my surprise, he found this undertaking to be “quite simple, really” and proved it the next day. He even had to try his hand at the “feminine” version: the croque madame (with the fried egg on top). Now I have always been partial to “monsieur”, but “madame” sure looks pretty… and it is quite tasty too. It all starts with thick slices of good white bread, crisp on the outside. It is filled with thinly sliced ham and Gruyère cheese and grilled to perfection. What takes this sandwich over the top is the béchamel sauce, which Keith can apparently make with his eyes closed. The nutmeg perfectly compliments the cheese, sauce and ham. One bite of Keith’s croque monsieur and I am instantly transported to a my favorite bustling brasserie in Paris. C’est magnifique!
A classic french sandwich that is simple, rich, and elegant.
- 2 slices thick sliced french bread
- 6 oz sliced ham
- 1/2 c shredded Gruyère cheese
- 1/2 milk
- 1 TBSP flour
- 1 TBSP butter
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- cooking spray
- 1 egg (for croque madame)
- In a sauté pan melt 1 tbsp butter. Add flour and cook for 1 minute.
- Add milk and whisk over medium heat until milk thickens
- Stir in nutmeg, salt and pepper and turn burner off leaving pan on stove
- Add 1/4 C Gruyère cheese and mix until cheese has melted.
- In another larger sauté pan spray with cooking spray and place two slices of bread in pan.
- Split remaining cheese between both slices of bread.
- Spilt ham and place 3 ounces of ham on each slice of bread.
- Grill until toasted about 2 minutes
- Top ham with 1 tbsp of cheese sauce mix (both sides)
- Combine two halves to make one sandwich.
- Remove from pan and place on oven safe cooking sheet and top with 1 TBSP of sauce and place under broiler to brown ( sauce will bubble)
- Remove and cut in half and enjoy.
- This is the Croque Monsieur. To make a Croque madame top with a sunny side up egg.
- These sandwiches are meant to be eaten with a fork and knife.