These days we’re all about comfort food at The International Kitchen, and there are few sandwiches more comforting than a classic Croque Monsieur! We’re using Richard’s favorite croque monsieur recipe today.
The classic croque monsieur sandwich has been around in French cafes for over a hundred years and always combines a delicious mixture of ham and cheese. But from there the preparations can vary. Sometimes it is grilled, sometimes baked, sometimes fried in a frying pan. It can be dipped in egg, smothered with cheese, or, as in this case, coated with bechamel sauce.
If you add a lightly fried egg to the top, the sandwich becomes a croque madame. It is equally satisfying and incredibly hearty!
Did you know? Proust’s famous A la Richerche du Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time) includes a reference to a croque monsieur (along with “oeufs à la crème”)?
Croque Monsieur Sandwich
Adapted from Jake Cohen’s recipe (on the feedfeed website).
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Cook method: Bake
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- thyme sprig or a pinch of dried thyme
- rosemary sprig or pinch of dried rosemary
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 cups grated Gruyere cheese
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 8 slices hearty white bread
- 3/4 pound of sliced ham
- 1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Make a bechamel sauce. First, melt the butter and then whisk in the flour, cooking it to form a roux and to remove the flavor of raw flour, about 2-3 minutes.
- Gradually whisk in the whole milk. Add the garlic and herbs, and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the sauce has thickened (5-8 minutes). Remove the sprigs and add the nutmeg, then half the cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool slightly before assembling.
- Spread some of the bechamel on both sides of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices on the baking sheet, then top with the ham. Spread a bit of mustard over the ham, then top with the remaining cheese, reserving a few tablespoons to sprinkle over the top of the sandwiches. Place the last 4 slices of bread on top, sprinkle the remaining cheese.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.
By Peg Kern
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