FÊTE & FORAGE

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One of my favorite French “fast” foods, croque monsieur (et madame) is the fanciest grilled cheese you’ve probably never thought to make. Essentially, croque monsieur is ham, gruyère, and bechemel sauce. Croque madame is the same with the addition of a fried egg. Using the best fresh French bread (or a fresh sourdough loaf) makes the meal especially good.

Croque Monsieur et Madame

Yields 4 Servings | Prep Time :20 | Total Cook Time 5:00 – 6:00

BECHAMEL INGREDIENTS
  • 4 oz. butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1½ cups whole milk (or half & half)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • ¼ tsp. dijon mustard
  • dash ground nutmeg
SANDWICH INGREDIENTS
  • loaf fresh crust bread (sourdough is a good choice)
  • 8-10 slices of ham
  • 6 oz. (about 2½ cups if shredded) gruyère or emmental cheese
  • ½ cup shredded fresh parmesan
  • eggs (1 for each sandwich that would like to be croque madames)
EQUIPMENT 
  • saucepan
  • baking sheet
  • parchment paper
  • sauté pan
  • whisk
BECHAMEL DIRECTIONS 
  1. Melt butter in the saucepan on medium. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. 
  2. Gradually add milk / half & half, stirring well until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Cook, stirring, until sauce thickens.
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in mustard, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Set aside while you make the sandwiches, or make in advance and store in fridge until ready to reheat and use.
SANDWICH DIRECTIONS 
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  3. Spread each bread slice edge-to-edge with béchamel.
  4. Place four slices of bread, béchamel side up, on baking sheet. 
  5. Top each with a piece of ham, a handful of gruyere, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
  6. Place remaining slices of bread on top, béchamel side up, topped with remaining gruyère and parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake for about 5-6 minutes, until cheese is melted, and then turn the oven to broil (550°) and finish until the cheese on top is lightly golden, 2-4 minutes.
  8. If you wish to add eggs to go from croque monsieur to croque madame, simply fry egg sunny side up in pan and place atop finished sandwich.

Croque Monsieur et Madame

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