Monday, May 25, 2015

Croque-Monsieur: a sandwich extraordinaire

First of all, Happy Memorial Day! Be sure to stop and remember what this day is all about.

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.

Oh. My.

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.

Top these slices with the ham and half of the cheese.

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?


  1. a friend just made croque madames I think she called them the pic showed runny eggs and I just can't handle that :-( this definitely looks promising though! making me hungry..sigh..

    1. I saw the recipe for Croque-Madames when I was looking for this one. And yes, it does have an egg on top of the sandwich.

      This sandwich was so filling, I'm not sure it needed an egg, too!

  2. I'd never heard of it either, but it looks and sounds scrumptious! My closest favourite is a Monte Cristo, with the ham and cheese inside, and dipped into beaten egg before grilling. Not the same thing at all, but also so-o-o good.

    Ackkk... now I'm hungry. It's 10 p.m. here and I'm not about to start making a sandwich of any kind. Tomorrow! There's always tomorrow. :)

    1. The Monte Cristo is on of my favorite sandwiches...when it's made right! There's a restaurant up in the Hills that makes them perfectly. Just enough filling, just enough egg dipping, and grilled to perfection.

      Actually, this sandwich reminded me of a Monte Cristo, but with the bechamel sauce instead of the egg dip.

  3. It looks marvelous! All cheesy and saucy and amazing! I have never ever heard of it, so I'm glad you shared it, Jan!

    Today is one of my favorite holidays. A day of remembrance, thought and prayer. We have out little hometown parade at ten and we gather at the coffee shop, buy our coffees, and take our little flags out to the curb... and we cheer for the veterans, for the police, for the firemen, for the marching bands and the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and a few horses! And then we go to plant the graveside garden for Grandpa Blodgett and his two brothers, Charlie (a Korean War veteran) and Irving (a gentle, quiet good man). The boys died in a very rough six month period in 2012, so maintaining their garden is a relatively new honor... and so important!

    And then home to greet NYC hedge fund manager finance boy who came to upstate for a weekend of golf with his buddies and is spending today with us! And that's when we fire up the barbecue!

    Jan, I love this, and the opening picture is perfect. Thank you.


    1. That sounds like a fabulous Memorial Day celebration, Ruthy!

      We're all working around here. The youngest college boy was home from his internship this weekend and is driving home today. Only the middle son and I are at home, and he's recovering from a cold.

      And it's raining.

      But even with the rain I'd like to drive up to the nearest National Cemetery for the ceremony there this morning.

      And, of course, Memorial Day at Mt. Rushmore would be the best, wouldn't it?

      We'll see what the day brings!

    2. And by "fabulous," I mean meaningful, memorable and just plain RIGHT. :)

  4. I love the tablecloth! I had one similar in the dark red.... One of my favorite country patterns!

    1. I love this tablecloth, too! I bought several of them the year we graduated from vinyl to cloth tablecloths.

      You know that year, don't you? It's when you can finally go through an entire meal with no one spilling their glass of milk!

  5. Oh yum, never heard of it but going to try it (sans ham, ofcourse) I love snazzy jazzy grilled cheese sandwiches. Must get more adventurous with my grilled cheesing.

    I watched the Memorial Day Concert on PBS last night -- sob -- heaving sobs. Such an emotional presentation and such beautiful music.

    1. I think this sandwich would be scrumptious with sliced and sauteed portabella mushrooms substituted for the ham. Oooh, and onion, too.

      Now I'm getting hungry!

      And I missed the concert last night, but that doesn't stop me from getting choked up today.

  6. It's French! You should have heard of it, KAV. Aren't all you Canadians part French. I bet Virginia has heard of it. Looks yummalicious.

    1. That was my thought, too, Tina. I'm SURE Virginia knows this sandwich!

  7. I've never heard of it either! And WOW. Looks amazing!! I can't wait to try it! I have a ton of leftover ham from our graduation weekend. That seems the perfect way to use it up! I'll have to use Swiss cheese.

    1. It will be great with Swiss cheese, Missy!

      And congratulations to your graduate!!!

    2. Thanks! It was a great weekend with lots of family and friends. :)

  8. Ah, and you know how to turn it into a Croque Madame, right? You add a fried egg on top. One of the best sandwiches in the world. Best eaten in a little bistro in Paris!!!!