I had an absurd number of croque madames while I was in Paris, considering all of the food choices that I had while I was there, and the number of foods I had on my “to try” list. Croque madames are just so good, and they bring back memories of my husband and I sitting in the cafe by our Paris apartment having a late night snack of croque madames and escargot, and creme brulee for dessert. Basically a croque madame is a ham and gruyere cheese sandwich made with bechamel soaked bread and with a fried egg on top. The gruyere monster approves. Here’s the recipe:
Yields 2 sandwiches. Easily doubles.
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
tiny pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper
1/3 lb black forest ham
3 oz gruyere cheese, grated
2 tsp dijon mustard
4 slices toasted bread
Start with the bechamel sauce and melt the butter over medium low heat in a small saucepan. Whisking constantly, add in the flour, and continue to whisk and cook for 3 minutes. Add the milk, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat, whisk in the nutmeg, 1 oz of the gruyere cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To make the sandwiches, start by spreading two of the bread slices with a layer of bechamel, and the other two with a teaspoon each of dijon mustard. Top the two pieces of bread with equal amounts of ham and the remaining cheese, and place the two remaining pieces of bread on top to form sandwiches.
Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat and cook the sandwiches on each side for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown on each side:
Remove the sandwiches from the pan, and preheat your oven’s broiler to high.
Spread 2-3 tbsp of the bechamel sauce onto the top of each sandwich, and broil until the tops are golden brown and bubbly, and the sauce has seeped into the crispy bread, about 3 minutes.
Fry up the eggs in a frying pan, making sure to season them well with salt and pepper. Top your sandwiches with the fried egg and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Epicurious.