Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Croque Madame & Monsieur


***DRUMROLL PLEASE...The Europe photos are officially ready for the web!!!!!!!!! The posting can now begin!
Right this minute, they are uploading to our photography website. Just click on the link below to see them all....all 700 of them!!! We had a hard time narrowing it down to 700...we started with over 2,600 photos from the trip!

In my next post, I'll write all about Day 1 in Paris, but I had to start out with an absolutely scrumptious recipe from our very first day in the beautiful City of Lights in this post. Our first dinner in France was a Croque Madame for Brad and a Croque Monsieur for me. These sandwiches are France's version of a grilled ham and cheese. Sounds simple, right? Don't let that description fool you! This sandwich is anything but a plain ole' grilled cheese. These sandwiches are decadent, comforting, mouth-watering, delicious, fabulous....okay, I could go on but you get my point.
They aren't particularly complicated to make. You start by making a simple bechamel sauce that's perfectly cheesy thanks to the yummy Gruyere. Then, the sandwiches are assembled, with the bechamel sauce smothering the top. Next, they're baked and then topped off with a fried egg. WOW!
Basically, the only difference in the two kinds of sandwiches is that the Croque Madame has an egg on top, while the Croque Monsieur does not. Pretty clever, huh? I think that part is pretty cute.
I already know this recipe is going to be a staple around our house. Every time I bite into one, I'm going to be transported back to the streets of Paris. ;)
They served the egg a little runny in Paris, so that's how Brad wanted his!
I like my fried eggs to be cooked a little longer...

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed (I used Sourdough Bread)
Dijon mustard
8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.

To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.

Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.


Anonymous said...

GAH!!! Totally drool worthy fabulousness right there! My husband would kill for one of these!!

GĂ©raldine said...

Beautiful !! I feel in France!
Do you recive my email about quiche lorraine?

Rachel Page said...

I just ate , and I'm now hungry again after looking at that.. DELISH! I need to make these.