Monday, March 7, 2011

Luxe File ♥s...Recipes (Croque Monsieur)

In life, there are certain rites of passage we anticipate with great excitement - when our parents deem us old enough not to need a babysitter; driving a car (with our own drivers' license and sans parent); playing hookey from school or work; turning 21 so you can finally drink alcohol, legally; and traveling on your own, preferably jetting to some luxe locale you read about in Condé Nast Traveler, like Paris!, for a decadent, no-holds-barred gastronomic and oenophilic adventure. Well, a pilgrimage to the City of Lights is just about the only thing I have left to look forward to. But until the day I have enough francs to justify the jaunt, I will simply indulge in my favorite french dish - croque monsieur - with a heaped high plate of crispy pomme frites and a cold bottle of white Bordeaux. Divine! I have always adored the French's easy interpretation of the classic ham and cheese sandwich and have included my favorite recipe for you to try.

Bon Appétit!

Croque Monsieur Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Makes 2 sandwiches


  • 1 tbsp butter, plus softened butter for bread
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • Coarse salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Parmigiano, grated
  • 3 oz Gruyère cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
  • 4 slices French or Italian loaf bread
  • Dijon mustard
  • 6 oz thinly sliced ham, about 6 slices


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. To make béchamel sauce: In a small saucepan on low heat, melt butter until foamy. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly with a flat sauce whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Slowly add milk, stirring continuously, and cook until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and season with nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in Parmigiano and 2 tbsp grated Gruyère. Reserve. 3. Lightly and evenly butter bread slices on both sides and toast both sides in sauté pan over low heat until just golden brown. 4. Spread one side of each toasted slice with mustard. Evenly place the ham slices and about ½ cup Gruyère cheese on two of the bread slices. Top each with one of remaining bread slices, mustard-side down. 5. Spread béchamel sauce to cover the top of each sandwich (crusts, too). Sprinkle evenly with the remaining Gruyère cheese. Place on oven-safe sheet pan and bake 5 minutes at 350 degrees, then place under lit broiler until cheese mixture on top is bubbling and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Tip: Cover the edges of the bread with the béchamel or they can get a little too crisp in contrast to the rest of the sandwich.

Posted by Kerry Shorr

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