Did I ever mention that the Hunka-hunka and I have yearly Nancy Meyer film marathons? I also can’t ignore one of her movies if I see it on TV. For myself, her interior design is incredible, and except for the crying, her women are on the most part strong, and the food, yes, the food. I still haven’t forgiven Diane Keaton for dumping Keanu Reeves for Jack Nicholson though; what a maroon.
But I digress, again. The first time I saw a Croque Madame was in It’s Complicated. So simple that it became elegant. Good food done perfectly is the height of class to me. Since then, I’ve seen Ina and Jeffery have them at a bistro in Paris while sharing a bottle of champagne. When I grow up I’m going to be this classy.
They couldn’t be any easier to make. You’ve basically been making them for years without the bechamel sauce. The Croque Madam has an egg and the Croque Monsiuer does not, other than that they are identical. They are incredibly rich, so I often cut down on the cheese. To make 2 sandwiches assemble:
For the Bechamel Sauce:
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp flour
- ¾ cup of milk
- 1/2 cup Parmesan
- salt and pepper to taste
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour for a minute or 2. Slowly add the milk until thickened. Add the Parmesan. Season and set aside.
For the Croque Monsiuer or Madame:
- 4 Slices sandwich bread (good solid rustic white or sourdough bread)
- 4 slices good quality ham
- 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese (my favorite)
Grill the bread. I can’t grill bread without butter, but it’s entirely up to you. Place 2 slices of the grilled bread on a baking sheet. Add a tablespoon or 2 of the bechamel sauce to each stack. Top each pair with a couple slices of ham. Mix together half of the Gruyere cheese and the bechamel sauce and spread on the ham. Top with the remaining cheese and grill until toasty.
For the Croque Madame:
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 egg per sandwich
- freshly cracked pepper
Be frying your eggs in the meantime, low and slow. Serve on top of bechamel sauce.
* From the Recipe Box:
I usually serve these open face, so only 1 slice of bread each.
This is breakfast, lunch or dinner at my house. I love an arugula salad with it. Just arugula tossed with good olive oil and S & P. Bon Appetit as Julia would say.
This is a composite of several different recipes. They are all fairly similar.
and remember what Charles Bukowski said: We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us. Big kiss, Lynn