A few days ago, my friend Shannon, who lives out here in Seattle, asked if I would be willing to teach her how to make Croque Monsieur. She has fond memories of eating them when she lived in London and wanted to take a crack at making them back here in the states. I, of course, was happy to oblige.
Croque Monsieur or Madame are basically the most ooey gooey decadent ham and cheese sandwich you’ll ever eat. The difference between the two is that the Madame tops off all of the cheesy goodness with a fried egg. It’s a filling meal, eaten with a fork and knife and served with a simple salad on the side.They’re definitely not diet friendly but, boy are they good. They’re relatively quick and easy to make as well. Shannon is already planning to make them again on her own next week, and I have every bit of faith that even the most novice cook, such as herself, can do it!
Croque Monsieur or Madame – barely adapted from Ina Garten
- 2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter (+ 2 Tbsp. for Croque Madame)
- 3 Tbsp. Flour
- 2 Cups Hot Milk (I microwaved mine for 2 minutes)
- 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Pinch of Nutmeg
- 12 oz. Emmental or Gruyere Cheese, grated (about 5 cups)
- 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
- 8 Slices White Bread
- Dijon Mustard
- 3/4 Lb. Black Forest Ham, sliced medium-thin
- 4 Eggs, optional (for Croque Madame)
Preheat oven to 400.
Set a small saucepan over low heat and melt 2 Tbsp. of the butter. Add the flour and stir constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened. Turn off the heat and add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 Cup Gruyere and the Parmesan. Set aside.
Place the slices of bread on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, then flip each slice over and bake an additional 2 minutes until lightly toasted.
Remove the bread from the oven but do not turn off the heat. Smear mustard on half of the slices. Add a few pieces of ham on top, then sprinkle with half of the remaining Gruyere. Top with a slice of the plain toasted bread. Repeat for each sandwich.
Slather each sandwich with the cheese sauce then top with the rest of the Gruyere.
Bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil on high for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Make sure to keep an eye on the broiler so as not to burn the sandwiches.
If making a Croque Madame, set a frying pan over medium heat and melt the butter. Crack an egg into a bowl and slowly transfer into the frying pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then cover and cook an additional 1-2 minutes, until whites have set. Place on top of sandwich. Repeat for remaining sandwiches.