Croque Monsieur

July 14 just happens to be one of my favorite days to celebrate during the summer. For those of you who don’t know the significance of this particular day, it is Bastille Day. Bastille Day is the French Independence Day and is celebrated very similar to how Americans celebrate the Fourth of July.

Bastille Day is among one of my many good excuses to make delicious French food. So, to get in the mood I made Croque Monsieur sandwiches the other night for dinner. Croque Monsieur means crunchy mister in French and is a very common sandwich in that area. It started out as an everyday ham and cheese sandwich but evolved into something a bit fancier. Made with slices of Gruyere cheese and ham with a bubbly top. If you don’t have Gruyere, swiss cheese would also work. This recipe makes only two sandwiches, but could easily be doubled.

Croque Monsieur

1 tbsp butter- plus more to butter the bread
4 slices sandwich bread
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
2 slices of Gruyere or Swiss cheese
6 slices deli ham

Preheat your oven to 425° and butter both sides of the bread.

Lay the bread out on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for about 6 minutes. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the flour and stir for about 1 minute. Pour in the milk and whisk until the sauce is thickened. Turn off the heat and stir in 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese until it is melted. Salt and pepper the sauce to taste.

To assemble the sandwiches, top two bread slices with the ham and sliced Gruyere.

Put the remaining two slices of bread on top. Pour the sauce evenly over the two sandwiches, letting some fall over the edges. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Return the pan to the oven for about 7 minutes to toast the tops and melt the cheese.

The inside is smooth and cheesy next to the slightly salty ham, but the bread stays crisp and warm, making a sandwich masterpiece.

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