Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Croque Madame

The croque madame is basically a fancy French grilled cheese sandwich. It's usually made with ham and gruyere (or emmental) with béchamel (or mornay) sauce on top. Actually if you stop right there, what you've got is a croque monsieur. To make it a croque madame, you top it with a poached or fried egg. And if you've got a food blog, you sprinkle it with beautiful chives to make the photo pretty. At least in theory (in reality, I forgot until mine was half eaten). Que sera, sera.
Makes 3 servings

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 slices firm white sandwich bread
6 ounces thinly sliced black forest ham
4 ounces sliced gruyère cheese, plus 1/4 cup grated
3 large eggs (omit to make croque monsieur)
4 teaspoons chopped fresh chives

1.      Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Add nutmeg and bay leaf. Increase heat to medium-high and boil until sauce thickens, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; remove bay leaf.
2.      Preheat broiler and melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Place 3 bread slices on work surface. Top each with 1/3 of the ham and sliced gruyère. Top with remaining bread. Heat heavy large skillet over low heat. Brush sandwiches with melted butter. Add to skillet and cook until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking sheet.
3.      Spoon sauce, then grated cheese over sandwiches. Broil until cheese begins to brown, about 2 minutes.  
4.      Heat the remaining tablespoon butter in nonstick skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then crack eggs into the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Fry eggs, covered, until whites are just set and yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Top each sandwich with a fried egg, sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.

slightly adapted from Bon Appétit, May 2001

adding flour to the butter
whisking the roux
milk, nutmeg and bay leaf added
slicing the gruyere

I need to get myself a real cheese slicer so all my slices will
be uniform (and so all my fingers will stay on my hand)
ham on bread
gruyere on ham
brushing with butter
topped with sauce and cheese
About two minutes after this photo was taken, I finally said   "d'oh! the chives. "

1 comment:

Elizabeth (Foodie, Formerly Fat) said...

This is one of my favorites. But in typical Elizabeth "short-cut" fashion I don't make it authentically because I don't make the sauce. In fact, mine's more like a fancy egg and cheese sandwich because I toast the bread with the ham and cheese on it. Then I fry and egg and slap it in the middle so I can eat it without a knife and fork. I do confess that I mostly make it with croissants!

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