And now for the food!
We have a new sandwich place in town that I fully intend to visit someday. It's called "The Sandwich Shop - Nummies on Second" (isn't that a great name?), and they serve specialty sandwiches and soups. A couple of my family members have eaten there and raved about their grilled cheese and their Reuben sandwiches, so I "liked" the restaurant on Facebook.
Big mistake. Seeing their daily specials when I'm at home with no car is pure torture on some days!
But one day their daily sandwich was "Croque-Monsieur." I had never heard of the dish (?) sandwich (?) soup (?) before, so I looked it up on the internet.
It turns out it's a baked ham and cheese sandwich with velvety bechamel sauce.
The recipe sounded fabulous! So I put it on my menu for the next week.
ingredients for bechamel:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt to taste
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until foamy. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a whisk, until the mixture is pale and foamy (about 3 minutes). Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly until the sauce is smooth. Keep cooking and stirring until the sauce is thick and a bit elastic, about 4 more minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the mustard and nutmeg. Add salt to taste.
Note: the bechamel can be made one day ahead. Let it cool, then press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the sauce and refrigerate.
6-8 slices 1/2" thick country style or rye bread (to make 3 or 4 sandwiches)
3-4 slices ham, about 1/4" thick
about 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (or you can use swiss)
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
Preheat your oven to 425° and line a baking sheet with parchment.
Spread three or four slices of bread with half the bechamel, spreading the sauce to the edges of the bread. Lay these slices bechamel side up on your baking sheet.
I used this Gruyere cheese from Sam's,
and these Farmland ham steaks.
And here are the sandwiches, half way through the assembly process.
Top these with the remaining slices of bread, spread with the remaining bechamel, then top with the remaining shredded cheese.
Sprinkle with the herbes de Provence, and slide the pan into the oven. Bake the sandwiches at 425° for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is brown and bubbling.
Here's the finished product:
So rich and creamy, and definitely a knife and fork meal!
Hmm, I think I need to put this on the menu again :)
And tell me - am I the only one who had never heard of Croque-Monsieur before?