Croque-Monsieur is my favorite sandwich. Don’t be intimidated by its fancy name, it’s basically your typical ham and cheese panini but you make it with bechamel sauce and Gruyere cheese and voila – you got yourself a Croque-Monsieur. Put a fried egg on it and that’d be a Croque-Madame. Bread is key here – get country-style bread with thick crust (like pain de campagne).
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
Ingredients (for 2 servings)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup 2% milk
8 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
4 pieces country-style bread with thick crust
Few slices ham or prosciutto
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Few spring fresh thyme
Fresh finely chopped parsley
1. Pre-heat the oven until 425F and toast the bread until golden brown and crispy.
2. Make the bechamel sauce. Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat, add flour and cook for 2 minutes constantly stirring with a wooden spoon. Slowly add milk and cook whisking constantly until the sauce thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Add salt, freshly ground black pepper, nutmeg and 2/3 of Gruyere cheese. Mix well and set aside. The sauce should be very thick.
3. Brush the toasted bread with Dijon mustard to taste, cover two slices with ham, sprinkle with some cheese and thyme, and cover with the other two slices of bread.
5. Slather sandwich tops with the bechamel sauce and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake until lightly browned on top, about 12-15 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with pickles and arugula.