Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Croque Monsieur

     Harney’s Tea Shop serves a delicious sandwich called Croque Monsieur.  It is magnifique!  Ham and gruyere cheese topped with a pat of dijon mustard, smeared with béchamel sauce and served on sourdough bread.   Pat and I enjoyed this on our recent trip to Millerton.
     Croque Monsieur originated in the cafe’s of Paris.  The word croque means “to crunch’ and monsieur means “Mr.”  The sandwich's first recorded appearance on a Parisian café menu was in 1910.  It can also be served with a poached egg on top.  Of course, then it is no longer Croque Monsieur, but rather Croque Madame.  The egg is said to resemble a turn of the century woman’s hat.
   I tried to re-create this fabulous and fancy ham and cheese sandwich at home.  It was a hit with four out of five of us.  The only hold out was Connor, who wants macaroni and cheese or pizza every night of the week.
     Serving suggestion:  Salad and your favorite cup of tea.  Pat enjoys Paris tea.  I prefer Tower of London.   Mais oui ma cherie.
     I suggest preheating the oven and setting the bread to toast while you are making the béchamel sauce.

Bechamel Sauce with Gruyere Cheese


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups warmed milk (I used 2% and it worked fine.)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup of grated Gruyere Cheese
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
pinch of nutmeg

 Melt the butter is a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the flour all at once.  Stir with a wooden spoon for about five minutes.
 Slowly pour the milk into the butter/flour mixture.  Whisk to stir until the mixture thickens and is smooth.  Remove from heat.
Off heat add salt and pepper, 1/2 cup of grated gruyere cheese and the nutmeg.  Set aside.

Croque Monsieur Sandwich

12 slices of bread (I couldn’t find sour dough, so I used an artisan bread
12 ounces of Gruyere cheese grated  1/2 cup will go in the sauce.
1/2 pound of Ham  (I used Black Forest Ham sliced thin.)
Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
To toast the bread place the slices on 2 baking sheets.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes until lightly toasted.
Brush half of the slices lightly with the mustard.  Add a few slices of ham.  Layer half of the remaining gruyere cheese.  Layer on a tablespoon of béchamel sauce.  Top with another piece of toasted bread.
Slather the tops with béchamel sauce.  Sprinkle with remaining Gruyere cheese and the Pecorino Romano Cheese.
Bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes.
Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 minutes or until the top is bubbly and lightly browned.
Serve hot.

     I had about 1/2 cup of béchamel sauce left over.  We used it on scrambled eggs and hash browns the next morning.  Yum.

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