Monday, October 14

Croque Madames

Croque madames (fancy French ham and cheese sandwiches) are one of my ultimate comfort foods. I had my fair share in Paris for our honeymoon and order them whenever possible at local restaurants, but this was my first time making them at home. Since the recipe (adapted from here) is fairly simple and only requires a few ingredients, it really makes a difference to use the best quality that you can find. I purchased some amazing country bread from a local bakery, nutty gruyere cheese, my favorite Dijon mustard, and a delicious smoked ham for this. I've seen croques come stacked like a real sandwich, but I like to layer everything on one slice of bread and eat it open faced. The gooey cheese and bechamel, flavorful ham, runny egg, and crunchy bread make the perfect brunch or indulgent dinner. Enjoy with a glass of wine and pretend that you're at Les Deux Magots in Paris.

Croque Madames:
  • Melt 1 1/2 tbsp. butter in a small sauce pot.
  • Whisk in 1/2 tbsp. flour until smooth and slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
  • Whisk in 1 c. milk and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, whisking often, until thickened.
  • Season the bechamel sauce with a pinch of salt and pepper, then whisk in 1/4 c. grated Parmesan and 1/3 c. grated gruyere cheese until just melted.
  • Meanwhile, arrange 4 slices of country bread* on a baking sheet and cook under a broiler until lightly toasted.
  • Remove the bread from the broiler and turn toasted-side down.
  • Spread the top side with a thin layer of Dijon mustard, then layer 2 thin slices of ham on top.
  • Divide the bechamel sauce on top of each layer of ham and spread evenly, then sprinkle each sandwich with 1/4 c. grated gruyere cheese.
  • Cook the sandwiches under the broiler for a few minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and starting to brown in some areas.
  • Meanwhile, fry 4 eggs sunny side up.
  • Top each croque with an egg and sprinkle with fresh thyme. Serve immediately.

Serves four
*Pan de mie or any other hearty, crusty white bread will work.