I was very excited when I saw Croque Monsieur for this months recipe. We took a three week trip a few years ago to Europe (England, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France) and I loved the food everywhere except for the food in Paris. I am sure it was my fault for not researching enough and finding where we should have gone to eat. Paris was very "touristy" - at least in the tourist areas where we were and I think the food at the places we went was low quality and high price. Well I know that was not what French food was supposed to be so I was excited to try this.
Croque Monsieur is basically just a ham and cheese sandwich - a very fancy ham and cheese with high quality ingredients. You start by making a cheese sauce. The cheese sauce was very good and I probably could have just eaten that by itself. The cheese sauce get poured over a ham and Gruyere sandwich and more cheese is put on top. I decided to make up some homemade french fries to go with.
The Croque Monsieur was very good but I did have a few issues with them. The thing that hurt it the most for me was that I thought it was way too salty. I didn't notice anything being too salty by itself but I think the saltiness of the cheese combined with the saltiness of the ham was a little overwhelming. I think next time I would get rid of the added salt in the cheese sauce and maybe use a ham other than Virginia ham which can be a little salty.
My other issue was the bread I used. I bought a good bread but I thought it was maybe a little thin. I read on other blogs of people using baguettes and things like that which I think may have been a good idea.
It also didn't help that I over did my French Fries. I new I should have trusted my instinct and not believed the 12 minute cook time that was on our fryer.
Overall I think the recipe was a winner - I just might play with it a little next time. Thanks to Kathy of All Food Considered for this months pick.
Croque Monsieur(Source: Barefoot in Paris, page 48)Serves 4-8Ingredients
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups hot milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch nutmeg
- 12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
- Dijon mustard
- 8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin
- Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.
- To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.
- Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.