Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Croque Madame and Monsieur

Croque Madame
Leave it to the French to take an ordinary ham and cheese sandwich and turn it into something a gazillion times better. A rich creamy bechamel sauce, tons and tons of good swiss cheese and in the Madame's case an egg, produce some the richest, best tasting ham and cheese sammies you'll ever have. I don't want you to even think of the calories in this dish, it would take away from the enjoyment of it. However for a special treat, it's something you have got to try! This is two recipes in one, the croque monsieur is just the ham and cheese sammy, the croque madame has a fried egg on top. Try one of each and let me know your favorite!

What You Need:

8 slices of thick bread
2 tbs butter, plus more for buttering bread
2 tbs flour
1 c milk
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
8 to 12 slices of good quality deli ham
12 oz gruyere cheese, shredded
dijon mustard
4 eggs (for the croque madame only)

What To Do:

Croque Monsieur
In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and whisk it together with the flour. Let the flour cook for a minute or two before slowly whisking in the milk. Once comined, add in the bay leave and the cloves of garlic that you've light smashed to open them up. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thickened. Stir in the parmesan cheese and turn the heat off. Transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge to cool.
When ready to make the sammies, spread a small amount of dijon mustard onto each slice of bread. Top 4 of the slices of bread with 2-3 pieces of ham. Mix half of the gruyere cheese into the cooled bechamel mixture. Spread half the bechamel on top of the ham. Take the other four pieces of bread and top the sammies. Spread the tops with butter and place, buttered side down onto a griddle or frying pan. Butter the other side and cook like you would a grilled cheese. Once the sammies are cooked, transfer to a baking sheet and spread the rest of the bachamel on top of the sammies, then top them with the rest of the shredded gruyere cheese. Place under the broiler until they're browned and bubbly. If making the Croque Madames, top each sammie with a fried egg when it comes out of the broiler.

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