Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Classic French Bistro Sandwich - Croque Monsieur

My family absolutely loves grilled cheese sandwiches regardless of the weather outside. I came across a recipe for a french grilled cheese - Croque Monsieur. It looked wonderful! I decided to print off the recipe and make it after morning service today. I found two different recipes for the same sandwich and decided to try them both. I made both versions (a total of 8 sandwiches) and it took me under 20 minutes. Unbelievably delicious! I wanted to take pictures but the family just couldn't wait any longer to eat. Worth every minute of preparation and the calories :0)



Croque Monsieur

Serves 4
Ingredients
8 slices white bread
4 ounces butter, softened
4 slices ham
4 slices gruyere cheese
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
salt
fresh ground black pepper

Directions
1Spread the bread with some of the softened butter, make 4 sandwiches, each with one slice of ham and one slice of cheese. Press them firmly together.

2Beat the eggs with the water, add the salt and pepper to taste, and dip the sandwiches into the egg mixture, coating all sides well.

3Heat the rest of the butter in a heavy- bottomed frying pan/skillet, when it has melted and is very hot - but not brown, fry the sandwiches for about 5 - 8 minutes, turning once.

4Serve immediately.

5If you prefer, although it is not traditional, you may place the croque-monsieur into a very well-buttered baking pan and bake in a moderately hot oven - 175°C/350°- turning once, for about 10 to 15 minutes. It is easier to prepare a larger number this way and keep them warm until you are ready to serve them.



Here is the second version - My favorite!



Croque Monsieur Ham and Cheese Sandwich Recipe

Ingredients
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
A pinch each of salt, freshly ground pepper, nutmeg, or more to taste
6 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups grated)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (packed)
8 slices of French or Italian loaf bread
12 ounces ham, sliced
Dijon mustard

Directions
1 Preheat oven to 400°F.

2 Make the béchamel sauce. Melt butter in a small saucepan on medium/low heat until it just starts to bubble. Add the flour and cook, stirring until smooth, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously, cooking until thick. Remove from heat. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in the Parmesan and 1/4 cup of the grated Gruyère. Set aside.

3 Lay out the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven, a few minutes each side, until lightly toasted. For extra flavor you can spread some butter on the bread slices before you toast them if you want.

(Alternatively, you can assemble the sandwiches as follows in step four and grill them on a skillet, finishing them in the broiler with the bechamel sauce.)

4 Lightly brush half of the toasted slices with mustard. Add the ham slices and about 1 cup of the remaining Gruyère cheese. Top with the other toasted bread slices.

5 Spoon on the béchamel sauce to the tops of the sandwiches. Sprinkle with the remaining Gruyère cheese. Place on a broiling pan. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes, then turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese topping is bubbly and lightly browned.

If you top this sandwich with a fried egg it becomes a Croque Madame.

Makes 4 sandwiches.