Howdy Mister Crunchy/Bonjour Croque Monsieur!

Melty, brown cheesy goodness? Oui, s’il vous plait!!!

I have been reading and enjoying my Clementine in the Kitchen cookbook. Another member of my vintage collection….

Inspired by the Clementine’s brief recipe and description of Croque Monsieur (roughly “Mister Crunchy”), my own taste memories from Café Presse (Seattle), a corner café in Paris, and some Gruyere loitering in the fridge, I set out to make a “basic” toasted ham and cheese sandwich. Definitely more advanced than a Kraft single grilled cheese, but pretty simple given the results.

Clemetine’s recipe calls for Swiss cheese and milk, then dipped in egg, sounds simple but I wanted more “Frenchiness” and looked to a few other recipes for inspiration. Thank you to Food Network’s Ina Garner and Simply Recipes, here is my version. Not too shabby, next time a little lighter on the sauce, touch more nutmeg, a little béchamel hiding under the sandwich and broiling with the rack down a little lower.


Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp butter (salted)
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cups milk (I used ½ cup skim and the rest half-half, since I had some)
  • Salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Nutmeg (~ ½ tsp) or more to taste
  • ~ 1 cup Gruyère cheese, grated (doesn’t have to be exact)
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 slices of French or Italian loaf bread
  • Ham, sliced, ~ 2 per sandwich depending on your love of ham
  • Dijon mustard, don’t go cheap
  • An egg per sandwich – If you would like a more “feminine” Crunchy

Heat the oven to 400F.

Make the special sauce – aka Béchamel

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan on medium/low heat. Add the flour and stir stir stir until smooth, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking or stirring continuously.
  2. Keep stirring/whisking until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat.
  3. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg to sauce.
  4. Add in the about ¾ c Parmesan and about ¼ cup of the grated Gruyère. Stir. Stir. Set aside.


Make the sandwich

  1. Place out the bread slices on a baking sheet lined with foil and toast them in the oven, a few minutes each side. Buttering is optional.
    1. OR assemble the sandwiches as follows and grill them on a skillet with additional butter, followed with just a broil in step 9.
  2. Spread half of the bread slices with mustard. Add the ham slices and most of the remaining cheese. Add the other half of the bread.
  3. Place sandwiches on foiled baking sheet. Spread the béchamel sauce on the sandwiches.
  4. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  5. If you didn’t grill them in step 5, bake in the oven for 5 minutes, then turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese topping is bubblicious and lightly browned.
  6. To make it a Madame, and add even more heart, fry an egg and place on top of the finished sandwich. Or crack on top then broil (not my recommendation)

Au revoir!

3 thoughts on “Howdy Mister Crunchy/Bonjour Croque Monsieur!

  1. The hubby loves croque monsieur but I must admit that I go the simple route and make it with baguette on the panini press without béchamel and cheat with some honey-mustard to add a little zest. That bubbly brown crust on top of yours is making me re-think …. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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