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Croque Monsieurs


So, we saw “It’s Complicated” over the break. Meryl Streep’s character owns a bakery and really likes cooking, and at one point she made Croque Monsieurs, which looked wonderful. I remembered them being mentioned in middle school French class, and thus decided to make them once we got back in Auburn. But, what are Croque Monsieurs? Basically, they are hot ham and cheese grilled sandwiches covered in a cheesey Béchamel sauce. The recipe I used was from Ina Garten, host of the food network show “Barefoot Contessa.” The sandwiches were oh so good…and unfortunately, oh so fattening. The recipe is below, and the original can be found here:

Ingredients

  • 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 (I used packaged deli sliced ham)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. 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.
  3. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened (about 8-12 minutes).
  4. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.
  5. To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 1-2 minutes, until toasted.
  6. 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.
  7. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes.
  8. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned (keep a close eye on them…some broilers, like ours, work really fast, and you’ll burn them if you don’t watch out for them). Serve hot.
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