Him: Where’s my egg?
Me: Wait, what? Really?
Him: You know I like eggs. Don’t you know me?
Me: You want a fried egg. On top of your sandwich.
Him: [Pause] Well, maybe we can just split the sandwiches.
His and her sandwiches.
I discovered the Croque Monsieur at a cute little French-style chain cafe at lunch one day. Then I brought my husband back for dinner and had it for lunch again the next day. I tend to do that with new things. If I really like something, I can eat it for days straight. Instead of continuously shelling out $10 a sandwich, I pulled out The Bible at home and we were on our way.
Croque Monsieur & Croque Madame
A garlicky bechamel and optional fried egg turn the average ham & cheese sandwich into a fork-and-knife meal.
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup Gruyere, grated (or 4 oz sliced)
- 4 slices Italian or French loaf
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 8 oz thinly sliced ham
- 1 egg, fried (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Over medium-low heat melt the butter and add the garlic. Stir until butter begins to bubble. Stir in flour and cook for two minutes. Stream in milk and whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until thickened. Add 1/8-1/4 cup Gruyere and whick until melted. Remove from heat and add salt & pepper to taste.
- Toast 4 slices of bread a few minutes each side in the oven. Build the sandwiches: Lay two slices of bread on a rack over a baking sheet. Spoon 1/4 of the bechamel sauce over the two slices. Top with ham, cheese, and the other two slices of bread. Spoon the remaining bechamel sauce over the tops of the sandwich, cover with the remaining cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 5 minutes and then switch the broiler on for 2-3 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and browning. Serve with a knife and fork (and strawberry preserves).
- Top the sandwich with a fried egg, hold the strawberry preserves, and call it a Croque Madame.
Yields: 2 servings
Estimated time: 15 minutes