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Croque Monsieur

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
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Why we love it:

This one goes out to my stepmom, Patti. She loves a Croque Monsieur and though I had had them before, she brought Croque Monsieur into rotation as a delicious and doable, if a little bit rich, week night meal. Consider frying an egg for the top and call it a Croque Madame!

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (plus 2 additional teaspoons of butter)
  • 14 cup Flour (all purpose)
  • 112 cups Whole Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Whole Grain Mustard
  • 12 teaspoon Nutmeg (freshly grated - use only ¼ teaspoon if it’s pre-ground nutmeg)
  • 12 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 2 cups Gruyere (grated, divided)
  • Bread (8 slices white - country style, brioche, thin or thick all work)
  • 12 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)

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. PREHEAT THE OVEN TO BROIL
  • 2. BECHAMEL

    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.

  • 3. GRUYERE

    Grate the cheese or slice it really thin. Stir ½ of the cheese into the bechamel sauce and whisk until it melts.

  • 4. SANDWICH

    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.

  • 5. GRILL

    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.

  • 6. SALAD

    Wash and dry greens as needed. Toss with salad dressing.

  • 7. SMOTHER

    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.

  • 8. SERVING

    Serve croque monsieur with salad on the side.

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Substitutions

  • GLUTEN FREE:
    make with GF bread and for the bechamel, whisk in 1 teaspoon of cornstarch in with the cold milk and bring to a boil to thicken it up
  • DAIRY FREE:
    I have not tried this, but I see no reason this wouldn’t be delicious with a dairy cashew cheeze sauce over top. I’d look up vegan mac and cheese recipes and use that type of sauce over top
  • HAM:
    salami, turkey, bacon. All definitely not traditional but would taste great
  • GRUYERE:
    jarlsberg, swiss, or any preferred flavor of melty cheese
  • WHOLE MILK:
    half and half, cream, and 2% would all work out
  • KIDS CORNER:
    if you can get your kid to try this, I can’t imagine they wouldn’t like it, but also, prepare them a plain ham and cheese and serve a winning vegetable or fruit on the side. It could be fun to slice the sandwiches into long strips, then coat in bechamel to make “sticks.” Use part cheddar, jack or a cheese they definitely enjoy. Lastly, consider omitting or reducing the mustard - that could be a jarring flavor to new palettes
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