Why we love it:
- 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (plus 2 additional teaspoons of butter)
- 1⁄4 cup Flour (all purpose)
- 11⁄2 cups Whole Milk
- 1 Tablespoon Whole Grain Mustard
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Nutmeg (freshly grated - use only ¼ teaspoon if it’s pre-ground nutmeg)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 2 cups Gruyere (grated, divided)
- Bread (8 slices white - country style, brioche, thin or thick all work)
- 1⁄2 pound Ham (sliced deli ham is easy but a roast that you slice will work)
- 4 cups Spring Mix Salad Greens
- 4 Tablespoons Salad Dressing (vinaigrette, or oil and vinegar)
1. PREHEAT THE OVEN TO BROIL
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foamy. Add flour all at once, while stirring constantly until mixture is pale and foamy, about 3 minutes. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking the whole time, until the mixture is smooth. Keep cooking, and stirring very often, until the sauce is thick, about 4 - 6 minutes longer. Remove from heat and whisk in mustard and nutmeg. Season with the salt.
Grate the cheese or slice it really thin. Stir ½ of the cheese into the bechamel sauce and whisk until it melts.
If you can assemble the sandwiches next to the stove so you can keep stirring the bechamel, do that. Otherwise, just wait until the sauce is done for this step.
Make 4 ham and cheese sandwiches using the rest of the cheese. Place on a baking sheet.
Use the extra teaspoons of butter in a sauté pan to make typical grilled cheese sandwiches. Sear one side, then flip when it’s browned and do the other side.
You can leave these a little bit lighter than you would if just eating a regular grilled cheese. When done, transfer to the baking sheet.
Wash and dry greens as needed. Toss with salad dressing.
Pour the bechamel over the top of each sandwich in the center and use the back of a spoon to smear it to the edge, it can drip a little bit down the sides. Place sandwiches into the broiler and keep an eye on them for about 3 - 5 minutes, perhaps rotating the pan depending on your oven, until the bechamel is bubbly and just a little browned.
Remove and let cool for a minute or so. Slice in half.
Serve croque monsieur with salad on the side.