Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Croque Madame or Monsieur

A hot ham and cheese sandwich, covered with a creamy Béchamel sauce, and finished with a fried egg. Simply omit the egg for a Monsieur.

Croque Madame or Monsieur

I love love love this sandwich and after I posted about having one for a late breakfast/early lunch over on Facebook a few days back, I've had several requests to post the recipe for the cheese sauce I used.

There are many variations to this French sandwich that dates back as far as 1910, and apparently started off as a cafe snack. Literally meaning crunch from the French word "croque," the monsieur or mister version is usually served with a Béchamel sauce and the madame with an egg atop, so named it is said because the egg resembles a woman's hat. Very often the sandwich is buttered and grilled in a pan, prepared much like a grilled cheese, but I followed a recipe from Jennifer Chandler's book, Simply Suppers, that called for broiling the sandwich instead, and it was simply marvelous.

Variations aside, Croque Monsieur or Madame, is basically a hot ham and cheese sandwich and somewhat reminiscent of a Kentucky Hot Brown to me. The addition of a spicy mustard gives it a wonderful kick and for mine, I used Colman's mustard, a very spicy British mustard, that was perfect for this blend of flavors.

Not at all a difficult sandwich to make and worth the effort, the trick is coordinating the making of the cheese sauce, with the use of the broiler, with the frying of some eggs, especially when you are making more than one of these at a time. It's nice if you have a helping hand to cook the eggs while you're doing the rest. The original recipe calls for Gruyère cheese, but I'm more apt to have Swiss on hand than Gruyère so I made that substitution since they are somewhat similar cheeses. To make this a Croque Monsieur, simply omit the eggs, though I highly recommend adding them. Just delicious.

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Posted by on April 12, 2011
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