Croque Monsieur aka the posh French sandwich
I first became fascinated with Croque Monsieur when I saw Meryl Streep whip one up for Steve Martin’s character in ‘It’s Complicated’. Weeks later it appeared again in another Meryl Streep film ‘Julie and Julia’ and before the movie had even ended I added the Croque Monsieur to my ever-growing list of must-try recipes.
I can finally cross it off my list now as I tried not one, but three of these on my trip to Paris in March.
From the moment we touched down in oui Pariee I was sniffing out one of these ‘posh sandwiches’ like a hound. Finally on day two after searching at least a dozen bakeries and restaurants I found a bakery with freshly made Croque Monsieurs’ in the window (of course it was in the bakery right next to our hotel the whole time).
I was buzzing with excitement but also with nerves. I had fascinated and dreamt about this dish for years and wanted it to be amazing but I was so nervous that I would be terribly let down. I think I actually sat there staring for five minutes hesitating to take that first bite but obviously curiosity (and hunger) kicked in and I inhaled it.
OH YEAH! PERFECT! It was just as I imagined – hot, creamy, cheesy and a little tangy and the only disappointment I felt was when I had finished the last bite.
A few weekends ago I was going through photos from my trip and came across the ten or so I took of the Croque Monsieur and then and there I decided to recreate the sandwich at home. Here’s how I did it:
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cups milk, hot
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups grated Gruyere (if you can’t find Gruyere you can use Swiss)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
6 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
3 thin slices of baked ham
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Put flour and butter into a small saucepan over low heat and stir continuously with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes.
Heat the milk until hot then slowly pour into the butter/flour mixture and cook whilst whisking constantly until sauce is thickened.
Now take the mixture off the heat and add 1/2 the Gruyere, all the parmesan, salt, pepper and nutmeg and set aside.
Toast the bread either in a toaster or under the grill until lightly browned. Brush half of the sandwich with dijon mustard, top with a slice of ham, sprinkle with half of the remaining Gruyere and sandwich together with the other piece of bread.
Place the sandwiches into a lined (with baking paper) tray. Spoon the cheese sauce onto the tops of the sandwiches (don’t worry if it spills into the bottom of the tray) and sprinkle the remaining Gruyere on top.
Bake the sandwiches in the oven for 10 minutes or until tops are lightly browned. To quicken the process bake for 5 minutes and grill for 3-5 minutes, checking constantly.
Eat immediately and enjoy!
So tell me, which movie has inspired you to cook?