A CROQUE MONSIEUR is a hot sandwich made with ham and cheese. The dish originated in French cafés and bars as a quick snack. The name comes from the French words croque (“crunch”) and monsieur (“mister”).
A CROQUE MONSIEUR is traditionally made with baked or boiled ham and sliced cheese between slices of pain de mie, topped with grated cheese and slightly salted and peppered, and then baked in an oven or fried in a frying pan. The bread may optionally be browned by grilling after being dipped in beaten egg. Traditionally, Gruyère is used, but sometimes Comté or Emmental cheese as well. Some brasseries also add béchamel sauce.
CROQUE MONSIEUR may be baked or fried so that the cheese topping melts and forms a crust.
A CROQUE MONSIEUR served with a poached or lightly fried egg on top is known as a CROQUE MADAME. The name dates to around 1960. The name CROQUE-MADEMOISELLE is associated with its lighter, vegetarian version: made of the same bread, but with ordinary melting cheese, accompanied sometimes with chives, cucumber and lettuce.
Why is it called a CROQUE MADAME?
When topped with a poached or lightly fried egg, the sandwich is called a CROQUE MADAME, so named because the egg is said to resemble a woman’s hat!!!
1 TB BUTTER
1 TB FLOUR
1 CUP MILK – whole, not low-fat
1 CUP HEAVY CREAM
PINCH OF NUTMER – to taste
SALT and FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER – to taste
Melt butter in a medium saucepan while stirring add flour and continue stirring for another 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking and while still whisking add the cream. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, whisking and continue until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.
4 SLICES LARGE FRENCH BREAD
4 SLICES HAM – a good quality, sliced thin
2 CUPS GRUYERE CHEESE – shredded, divided
2 TSP DIJON MUSTARD
2 LIGHTLY FRIED or POACHED EGGS
Heat an oven=proof skillet over medium heat. Brush each side of the bread with Dijon, top with ham and remaining 1 cup of Gruyere cheese. Spread butter on top and bottom of each sandwich.
Cook each side util golden. Spoon bechamel on top of each sandwich, sprinkle with more shredded Gruyere on top and transfer to the oven. Broil for 1-2 minutes r just until golden brown.
Meanwhile fry the eggs in a skillet with butter until the whites are just set. You can, if you prefer, poach the eggs to your liking. Gently slide an egg on top of each sandwich and serve immediately.