Blue Jean Chef's Note:
- The Croque Monsieur sandwich is essentially a grilled ham and cheese sandwich but with cheese sauce poured on top and broiled to perfection. Top it with a fried egg, and it becomes a Croque Madame. The sandwich is such a standard item on French café menus, that even McDonald's restaurants in France offer their version of the classic — a ''Croque Mc'Do''!
Croque Monsieur (and Madame)
- 2 tsp butter
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 2–1/2 cup milk
- 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp grated Swiss cheese (Gruyere would be excellent)
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 slices French bread (not baguette, but large crusty loaf)
- Dijon mustard
- 8 slices ham (about 1/2 lb)
- 4–8 slices Swiss cheese (again, Gruyere would be excellent)
Only for Croque Madame
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour, stirring constantly. Cook the two together for about 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, breaking up any lumps. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring all the while. When it has boiled and thickened, turn off the heat and stir in the two cheeses until they melt. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and set aside.
- Pre-heat the broiler and position the oven rack about 4'' from the top of the oven. Spread the Dijon mustard on one side of all the slices of bread. Build the sandwiches as follows: bread (with the mustard on the inside!) â ham â cheese â ham â bread. Melt some butter in a square skillet and fry the sandwiches on both sides until nicely browned. Alternately, butter the outside of the bread slices and fry. Remove the pan from the heat before the second side is fully browned. Leaving the sandwiches in the pan spread some of the sauce made above over the top of each sandwich. Pop the pan under the broiler until the cheese sauce has melted and browned lightly. Watch carefully that the bread crusts don't burn.
- If you are making Croque Madame sandwiches, fry the eggs in another skillet while the sandwiches are under the broiler. Top each finished sandwich with a fried egg and enjoy.