Tuesday, May 13, 2008
There are two versions behind the French croque monsieur sandwich.
When I cook for my kids I make the simplest, most common version (not that different from standard-issue American classic, the grilled ham and cheese). But when I cook for adults I make le Vrai croque monsieur that requires a béchamel sauce. My croque monsieur, based on my family's recipe is layered with jambon de Paris (some American stores display Madrange ham or Ferrarini Roasted Rosemary Ham product of Italy) , Swiss Gruyère, and a rich béchamel sauce, encased between slices of toasted white bread, and topped with more béchamel and grated Gruyère. I like it straight from the oven—the cheese bubbling and golden-brown, melting over the sides of the bread, and with a rich, creamy center.
Croque-Monsieur with Bechamel Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
Pinch of ground nutmeg
4 slices firm white sandwich bread
4 ounces sliced French ham ( Madrange) or Italian Ferrarini
4 ounces sliced Gruyère cheese
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese
PreparationMelt 2 tablespoons butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Add nutmeg. Increase heat to medium-high and boil until sauce thickens, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat broiler. Place 2 bread slices on work surface. Top each with half of ham and sliced Gruyère. Top with remaining bread. Heat heavy large skillet over low heat. Brush sandwiches with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Add to skillet and cook until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to small baking sheet. Spoon sauce, then grated cheese over sandwiches. Broil until cheese begins to brown, about 2 minutes.