Foodie Friday: Croque Monsieur
Recently, my husband took me to see It’s Complicated. In the movie, Meryl Streep’s character makes these incredible looking cheesy, toasty bits of goodness. I had never heard of these French sandwiches before, but I couldn’t get them out of my mind! After some research, I came across this recipe from Simply Recipes. I adapted it to my tastes, but holy moly these things are amazing! I can’t even begin to describe how each mouthwatering bite of creamy, cheesy goodness tasted. Perfection. These are going to become a staple in our household.
I believe the key to making the Croque Monsieur was to buy quality ingredients. Truly, I think it made a difference. Somewhere in my research I came across a comment that was made, “It’s just an expensive ham and cheese sandwich.” Oh no, no, no! Sure, it’s bread, cheese, ham, but does your ham and cheese come bathed in a Béchamel sauce? It is just so satisfying to make meals like this at home. For me, the cost of the ingredients is still far below what I’d pay for a mediocre (at best!) restaurant meal. Really, it’s just the cheese that is “expensive”, but they will last you longer than more lackluster cheeses will. With so much flavor, a little goes a long way. Although, I did indulge tonight on the cheese front!
Croque Monsieur (adapted from SimplyRecipes.com)
Makes 10 pieces or 2-3 servings.
WHAT I USED
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups 1% Lactaid, warmed (I can’t handle real milk, funny the cheese doesn’t get to me)
Salt & Pepper
1 1/2 cups Gruyère cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated and packed
Crusty French bread loaf, cut into 1 inch thick slices (sandwich size, not skinny baguettes)
8 ounces Black forest ham, thinly sliced
WHAT I DID
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Using a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat until melted. Slowly add flour while whisking constantly. Continue cooking and whisking until mixture turns a light blonde color, a couple minutes. Keep color light, do not let brown. Slowly pour in warmed milk, while whisking. Keep a light simmer and continue to whisk until sauce starts to thicken. Add Parmesan and 1/4 cup Gruyère cheese a little at a time while stirring. Do not add all at once, or sauce will clump. Once you’ve combined cheese into sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Need help with your Béchamel? Links below.
3. Turn heat to low under sauce. Lightly toast your bread slices on a baking sheet in the oven, turn once. Do not let brown.
4. Spread a very thin layer of Dijon mustard over each toasted slice. Add about 2 slices of ham to each piece. Sprinkle each slice with the Gruyère cheese reserving about 1/4 cup. Spoon Béchamel over each slice, then top with remaining Gruyère cheese.
5. Bake for 5 minutes. Rotate pan front to back, then turn broiler on High for 3 minutes. Cheese will be bubbling and lightly browned when ready. Be sure to keep a close watch while broiler is on, they can burn quickly.
6. Remove from pan, plate up and enjoy!
Traditionally, this is more like a sandwich, but I enjoyed these quite a lot without the top portion of bread. I feel it would have been too crusty and hard, especially for me. (Braces!) I probably shouldn’t have been crunching on the one crusty piece as it is! My Orthodontist would be unhappy with me. Shh! You won’t tell, right?
Have an outstanding weekend and indulge a little!