A croque monsieur is your classic French café food – a sandwich filled with the goodness of béchamel, cheese and ham. It’s one of my favourite meals to enjoy when I’m in France and over the years I’ve enjoyed many versions of this all over France… In fact, I featured a croque monsieur on the VERY FIRST POST on my blog on May 15, 2009!
(a most excellent iteration. From Café Beaubourg in Paris).
Then there was this one:
(classic square slices of white bread version at Café Marly)
And sometimes it’s topped with an egg… making it a Croque Madame…
(this version was at Bouchon Bistro in Yountville and they cleverly made the béchamel look like it was part of the egg)
As for me, I’ve made David Lebovitz’s version of a croque madame…
I’ve made a Croque Monsieur galette…
I mean, really – what’s not to love? Bread, cheese and ham – staples, right? There’s (OBVIOUSLY!) going to be a recipe for a croque monsieur in my cookbook (definitely a kid-friendly recipe – both to make and to eat) and I’ve been experimenting with different ways to make this classic over the past few months (making a lot of other people’s versions in the process and noting things I liked and didn’t like to come up with my definitive version – it’s tough work but someone has to do it! For THAT recipe, you’ll have to wait until September 2018 but I’m happy to share a version I loved with you today adapted from the folks over at duBreton.
duBreton is a range of pork products I’ve been buying ever since I discovered them in my local supermarket. It’s nice to have ethically raised meat options in the supermarket for those times when you don’t make it to the butcher (it’s just those few extra blocks away and sometimes is closed by the time I am doing my shopping!) and du Breton features ethically-produced Rustic Farm Pork (blue label) and an Organic (green label) range. All duBreton pork is from pigs raised in a crate-free environment on family farms in Ontario and Quebec, without antibiotics and fed a high-quality vegetarian diet. The pigs have free access to shelter and hay or straw bedded resting areas as well as the space and ability to engage in natural behaviours. Happy animals = better quality meats.
When I received a press release from duBreton just before St Valentine’s Day, I’d been working on my béchamel sauce so, of course was keen to try Chef Matt Dean Pettit’s version in this classic sandwich. I changed a few things around on the sandwich assembly but the béchamel is all his creation (you’ll have leftovers so you might want to scroll back up ^^^ for that croque monsieur galette recipe!).
Croque Monsieur or Madame is the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich!
- for the Béchamel
- 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (250 mL) 2% milk
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- For the Croque Madame
- 4 slices country bread, thickly sliced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 4 slices duBreton Sliced Cooked Ham
- 1 1/2 cups (approx. 120 g) Emmental (or other) cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon Canola Oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon finely diced fresh chives
- For the Béchamel
- In a small pot over medium to high heat, melt the butter. Cook until it starts to bubble and turn slightly brown, approximately 1 minute.
- Add the flour, whisking continuously until it starts to clump a little.
- Slowly add the milk and continue whisking until sauce is smooth and velvety in texture and is starting to thicken, 2-3 minutes more.
- Add salt and pepper. Stir well and remove from heat and leave covered until needed.
- For the sandwich
- Heat broiler to high (400˚F).
- Heat a large griddle pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
- Butter each slice of bread on one side and place 2 slices butter side-down in the skillet.
- Sprinkle approx. ¼ cup grated cheese on each slice of bread, top with 2 slices of ham and top the ham with ¼ cup more grated cheese.
- Spread the unbuttered sides of the remaining bread with about 2 tablspoons of the béchamel then place them, béchamel-side down on the sandwiches.
- Cook until the bread underneath is golden and crispy, around 3-4 minutes.
- Use a flat plastic spatula to carefully flip the sandwich and cook on the other side a further 3-4 minutes until the bread is crispy and golden and the cheese is starting to melt.
- Spread the top of the sandwiches generously with the béchamel sauce, making sure to fully coat the bread. Divide the remaining ½ cup grated cheese between the sandwiches, evenly coating the béchamel.
- Place under the broiler (in the griddle pan/ skillet if it's oven ready, otherwise you can transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper).
- Broil approximately 5-7 minutes (keep an eye on this as all broilers are different) until the cheese and béchamel are bubbling and golden.
- Meanwhile, prepare the eggs:
- Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium to high heat.
- Cook eggs to preference (for Sunny Side Up, crack both eggs and fry for approximately 2-3 minutes or until the whites are set while the yolks remain soft).
- Place one egg onto each sandwich, garnish with chives and serve hot.
Disclosure: Although this post features duBreton products, this is not a sponsored post. I was not compensated writing this, nor did I receive any product in exchange for writing. I use and love duBreton products already (have for years).