I love a good sandwich. Specifically, I love a good Croque Monsieur. I’ve been thinking about making one since I got back from France this summer where I had not the best Croque Monsieur I have ever had but a pretty darned tasty one at Café Marly, overlooking the Pyramide du Louvre.
Basically a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with béchamel sauce, (no, it’s not JUST a grilled cheese sandwich with ham as many people seem to interpret it) it’s buttery and cheesy and most definitely a once-in-a-while treat… And therein lies the problem with Croques Monsieurs – they are just too tasty and no matter how hard you try, you can’t just eat a half a one. So my mission was, as I am wont to do with many dishes you see on this blog, to minify this.
As soon as I sat down to try to figure something interesting out (I didn’t just want to cut the slices of bread into four and call it a day), I remembered that a few years ago, I posted a grown up grilled cheese and tomato sandwich – based on a dish I first ate at the legendary Uraidla Aristologist restaurant (in the Adelaide Hills, where I was fortunate enough to dine a few times when I was way too young to really appreciate it). According to the State Library of South Australia website, The Aristologist was an innovative restaurant using fresh local produce ‘Tuscan style’ in the Adelaide hills in the 1980s and early 1990s, with chef Jennifer Hillier and Michael Symons, who wrote the interesting “One continuous picnic: a history of eating in Australia” (Adelaide: Duck Press, 1982). Something about fashioning bread into little cubes, brushing them with butter and baking them until crispy and then filling them with something delicious is a foolproof recipe for success. And I’m pleased to report that it works for Croque Monsieurs as well, solving the dilemma of how to minify them in an interesting fashion.
My mum has the recipe for the “Cheese Filled Bread Cases” that she ripped out of a magazine way back in the 1990s and both the previous and this recipe are based on that. In trying to find somewhere to attribute, I did come across a very similar recipe for bread cases filled with béchamel sauce (and a cabernet paste – how intriguing!) but nowhere can I find the original recipe to link to. In any case, I have changed up the quantities slightly so the sauce is thicker than a béchamel (and the original recipe) – I like the thicker consistency for this type of 1-2 bite hors d’oeuvre.
I used the Ace Organic White Oval loaf but you can use any dense white loaf with a thin crust for this one.
Make the bread cases:
Fill and bake the bread cases:
The problem? Bet you can’t eat just one 😉
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