Sunday, May 4, 2014

Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame

My Facebook friends know that I recently returned from a wonderful, 10 day vacation in Paris, Venice, Florence and Rome.  When I travel I always like to sample the local cuisine. When I go to New York, I make sure to eat the world famous pizza I grew up on.  When I travel throughout the south, I indulge on barbecue.  In New Orleans I can't wait to eat Gumbo, and when I'm in Puerto Rico, my mouth starts watering when I think of the first bite of mofongo.  So it was no surprise to anyone when I ate my way through Europe and posted daily pictures onto Facebook to prove it. 

When we arrived in Paris, I couldn’t wait to get to a French Bistro to eat my favorite French signature sandwich, Croque Monsieur or Croque Madame.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, Croque Monsieur is the French Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich made with a creamy Béchamel.  A Croque Madame is a Croque Monsieur topped with a fried egg.  I’ve been home for several weeks and I can’t get this delicious sandwich which can be prepared for brunch, lunch or dinner off my mind.  With this recipe, it’s so simple to make, I don’t have to.

Béchamel Ingredients
§  2 tablespoons unsalted butter
§  2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
§  1 cup whole milk
§  Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
§  1 small bay leaf
§  Salt and pepper to taste

Sandwich Ingredients
§  4 slices firm white sandwich bread
§  2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
§  1/4 pound thinly sliced cooked ham (preferably Black Forest)
§  1/4 pound coarsely grated Gruyere cheese, divided into 4 equal piles
§  4 tablespoons unsalted butter
§  2 large eggs

For the Béchamel :
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir 1 minute.

Gradually whisk in milk. Add nutmeg and bay leaf. Increase heat to medium-high and boil and continue whisking until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes.  Remove and discard the bay leaf.  Season with salt and pepper. 
For the Sandwich:
Preheat broiler. Place 2 bread slices on work surface.  Spread 2 slices of bread with Dijon mustard and top with half of the ham.
On the remaining 2 slices of bread, spread 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons of Béchamel and sprinkle each with 2 ounces (1 pile) of the Gruyere cheese.
Close to form two sandwiches. 
In a skillet over low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.  Add both sandwiches to the skillet and cook until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. 
Transfer to a small taking sheet.  Spoon the béchamel sauce over both sandwiches and top with remaining cheese.
Broil until the cheese begins to brown, about 2 minutes.  Your Croque Monsieur is finished and ready to eat. 
I, however, prefer the Croque Madame sandwich.  To make the Croque Madame, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then crack eggs into skillet and season with salt and pepper.
Fry eggs until whites are just set and yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Top each sandwich with a fried egg and serve immediately.
For a printer friendly copy of this recipe, go to Croque Madame. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds Wonderful... can't wait to try BOTH of these...