I tried these delights on my first trip to France in the early 2000’s. And more recently Russ + I have enjoyed beautifully made ones at Stable House Bistro on South Granville in Vancouver. And we make them at home too.
When the world is back to normal and we can go back to travelling again. I can already imagine myself sitting in a little cafe in Paris enjoying a croque madame and a lovely side of french fries. Let’s not forget the cappuccino!
The Croque Monsieur comes from the french word “Croque” meaning crunchy bite or more literally Mr. Crunch, I highly suggest getting your crunch on!
This is the French’s version of “toasty cheese” if you’re wondering “what the heck a toasty cheese is” …. a grilled cheese, as my Mom used to call it. The croque is made with pantry staples found in many french homes: bread, cheese, and ham.
The cheese used in making a Croque is normally gruyere or emmental. Gruyere cheese as it ages becomes more earthy than its younger self which is creamy and nutty. Emmental cheese is a medium hard cheese from Emmental, Switzerland, tasting notes suggest slightly fruity, I taste more earthy tones.
You may be interested in knowing why you’d use unsalted butter or even clarified butter? It’s essentially to keep the integrity of each ingredient.
There is a sauce added into this sandwich, it’s a bechamel sauce. Its 3 simple ingredients – butter, flour and milk are combined to make this rich and flavourful sauce.
Okay now, lets fancy up your grill cheese game!
2 slices french bread for each Madame Croque
1 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 C grated Gruyère cheese
1/2 C Béchamel sauce- see recipe below
1 to 2 slices of ham
One fried egg
Set your oven to broil.
Slice the bread and add butter onto one side of the bread. Flip the bread over and spread a thin layer of dijon mustard on this side of the bread.
Make the bechamel sauce. See recipe below.
Grate your cheese.
In a bowl place your cheese and add in ¾ of your bechamel sauce. Stir to combine
Add cheese/bechamel mixture to the mustard side of the bread. Spread evenly.
Add the thinly sliced ham on the slice of bread opposite of the cheese/bechamel mixture.
In a pan on medium heat. Add your sandwich. Cook until the sandwich is browned and then flip and cook the other side till brown.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place your sandwich(es) on the parchment and top each sandwich with the remaining bechamel sauce. Spread evenly.
Place your baking sheet under the broiler until it’s browned. Watch very carefully as this browning happens very quickly.
In a pan on medium heat fry your egg, sunny side up. Place on top of your sandwich. Enjoy!
2 Tbsps Butter
2 Tbsps Flour
1 ¼ C Milk, warmed
Salt + pepper
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until it’s pasty and bubbles a little bit. Don’t let it brown.
Add the warmed milk (see below), continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more.
Remove from heat.
I cut my own french bread so I can have the slices as thin or as thick as I want
To cool this sauce for later use, cover it with wax paper to avoid a sealing layer.
Add in cheese to your bechamel to make a cheese sauce. Don’t forget a pinch of cayenne pepper 😉
Try using a combination of Gruyère and Emmental
Happy National Egg Day – June 3, 2021!
All ingredients for this recipe you can find at all 3 City Avenue Market locations – New Westminster, Port Coquitlam + Commercial Drive