Mr. and Mrs. Crunch {CtBF}

Croque Monsieur

I’m so excited to further my exploration of French cooking with my friends from Cook the Book Fridays.  This week, I tried the fried ham and cheese sandwich known as Croque Monsieur and the variation topped with a sunny-side up egg known as Croque Madame.  The version I tried was from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.

I am a huge fan of grilled or pressed sandwiches of any kind.  There are a couple of things that make a Croque Monsieur different than other combinations I’ve tried before.  To start, the bread is spread, not with the usual condiments of mayonnaise or mustard, but with a béchamel sauce.  The sauce is simple to make.  Milk is simmered with a roux until it thickens up enough to be spreadable.  Thin slices of prosciutto and Gruyere are layered onto the bread to make a sandwich.  The bread is coated generously with melted butter and both sides of the sandwich are grilled in a skillet while another heavy skillet presses it down.  The weight both squishes the sandwich and ensures a lovely browned crust on the underside of the bread.

Browned

Finally we get to the other step that distinguishes the Croque Monsieur.  The top of the sandwich is sprinkled with grated Gruyere (who doesn’t love cheese?) and broiled until the cheese is browned and bubbly.  Yum!

This isn’t really an “eat with your hands” sort of sandwich, more of a knife-and-fork sandwich, which I think is more traditionally French anyway.  I remember ordering a sandwich in Paris and whilst eating it, looked around to see that I was the only one with the entire sandwich in my hands, rather than a dainty bite-sized piece of it on a fork.

I served the sandwich as recommended by David Lebovitz with a green salad with a mustardy vinaigrette.  The salad helped cut the richness of the sandwich.

I liked the sandwich so much that I made it a second time, this time transforming it into a Croque Madame by placing a sunny-side egg on top.  Out of lettuce, I served it instead with a beet and walnut salad which I make with a mustardy vinaigrette.

Croque Madame

This is a new favorite but because of its decadence, something that I can’t justify enjoying every day.  Howard didn’t get to try it yet, but I’ll make this for him for a weekend lunch one day soon.

Croque Monsieur was in the air this week.  I was catching up on podcasts.  Spilled Milk recently did a podcast about Ham & Cheese Sandwiches where Matthew and Molly (when they stayed on topic) chatted about Croque Monsieur.  I also came across a recipe in an old magazine where they made their sandwiches a little differently.  They spread the bread with mustard, then after grilling, spread the béchamel on the outside of the sandwich as glue for the grated cheese topping.  That sounds like an intriguing variation.  I still have ham, cheese, bread, and béchamel , so I might try making it that way for lunch today.

To check out my friend’s Croque Monsieurs (and maybe Croque Madames), check out their links here.  You can find the recipe on page 137 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.  (Note: you can currently — and probably only for a limited time — buy the Kindle version of this book for only $1.99!)

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Posted on 15 April 2016, in Cook The Book Fridays, my paris kitchen and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Helyn Benjamin

    Hi. Sounds yummy. Made my mouth water. Xoxoxo

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. Great photos! We loved this too!! 👍

  3. Your photos really capture the yumminess of this sandwich! I am a huge fan of grilled or pressed sandwiches too, and this recipe did not disappoint.

  4. Nicole @ The 2nd 35 Years

    I have also made the version with Mustard on the I side with bechamel and Gruyere on the outside. I thought this woukdn’the be gooey and cheesy enough but it was absolutely perfect!

  5. I ate the sandwich with my hands. Maybe I should use a fork. But I really couldn’t wait to take a big bite of this delicious goodness.

  6. Love that beetroot walnut salad! I made both versions too, and both times I used cutlery!

  7. Sounds like some delicious taste testing you’ve been doing over there. For reasons which are now completely unclear to me, I have never spread mustard on my grilled cheese. I feel that this is a deficiency which needs to be made up soon.

  8. I had leftovers too and I’ll post what I made next week! LOVED this!

  9. This is a favourite in my house too! Will be making this again for sure!

  10. Your beet salad looks fabulous!! This sandwich does do well with a salad side. I am going to have to listen to my podcasts and see if I come across the ham & cheese one- sounds like I would enjoy it.

  11. The beet and walnut salad is perfect as an accompaniment for this sandwich. I really loved it, but I agree with you that it’s a once-in-a-while indulgence. I’m intrigued by the version you found in the magazine – let us know how it turns out when you try it!

  12. How did that last variation work, Betsy. That sounds intriguing and something I would try. A nice post and, although I didn’t make a salad with this, it’s a great idea. The beet salad. Did that work? I find this sandwich so filling that I wouldn’t have thought to put anything with it except a few lettuce leaves. Like your writing and research this week.

  13. I actually thought that mustard would be great on this. Something to try next time.
    Love your beet and walnut salad…perfect! This was a winner in our house…although I could only eat half. Very filling! Enjoy your week, Betsy.

  14. I don’t trust people who don’t like cheese. It’s not natural :-)
    I think you gave me another podcast suggestion.
    The sandwich looks delicious :-)

  15. I love that second photo, Betsy, with the beet salad! YUM! This recipe was so fabulous, right?

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