October has been crazy. I have been trying to post this amazing recipe for over a week now. I promise I did not abandon you…. Hopefully this amazing breakfast dish will make you love me again and forgive me. What is better than a ham and cheese sandwich….throw extra cheese sauce, butter, and an egg on top. Ya. This is the breakfast that I make for special occasions because, well, otherwise my butt would not fit through a door without being greased with butter….on the outside. I made this for my best girl friends. It is one that they request and it is a breakfast that I loooove making.
I first had this sandwich when I was in Paris many years ago. I was tired from jet lag and stopped into a cafe. My french was terrible but I recognized the few ingredients in the Croque Madame…and I love anything with cheese and an egg. I nearly passed out from the pure divinity of this sandwich. Every bite is like falling in love. No, i’m not being dramatic…try it. you will agree. Money back guarantee.
Gruyere cheese makes this sandwich. It is a type of swiss cheese and you can find it in the specialty cheese section at your grocer. I’ve made this sandwich with expensive imported aged gruyere cheese and also with a cheaper and more affordable gruyere. Imported and aged is better, but seriously…both taste like a million bucks. So do whatever your pocket book allows….But whatever you do…just do it! You won’t regret it.
Traditionally, this sandwich is made with two slices of sourdough bread with ham, béchamel sauce, gruyere, and topped off with an egg. To cut down some of the calories, I make this an open faced sandwich and cut out one of the pieces of bread. Also, the bread is usually buttered on both sides and toasted, but again, to cut down on a few calories, I don’t butter the toast. But if you are feeling like you need more butter in your diet, feel free to butter away.
The béchamel sauce is a bit time consuming and is not something that you can walk away from. You can make this sauce ahead of time (1 hr or so) and cover with plastic wrap until you need to use it. Bechamel sauce is basically butter, flour, milk, gruyere cheese and a dash of nutmeg. mmmmm. Again…traditionally this sauce is made with whole milk….to give your badunkadunk some more dunk. However, I use 2% milk, but I have used 1% in a pinch and I think it tasted plenty rich. Any leftover sauce can be used towards a veggie lasagna, other sandwiches, on top of baked eggplant….on a spoon. 🙂
Now, you can also make this sandwich without the egg (who knows why you would do this), but, if you do (i’ll think you are crazy), it is referred to as a Croque Monsieur.
Croque Madame (serves 4…generously)
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 Cup 2% milk
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp cracked black pepper
- dash nutmeg
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded gruyere cheese (divided)
- 4 slices of good sourdough bread
- 4 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 lb thinly sliced black forest ham
- Melt 2 Tbsp butter over medium to low heat in a saucepan (1 to 1 1/2 quart pan). When the butter has melted, whisk in the flour and make a roux. Stir constantly until smooth and cook for approximately 2 minutes (keep stirring).
- Slowly add the milk. Whisk constantly and cook until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of gruyere cheese. Set aside.
- Preheat broiler. Spray 8×8 or 9×13 pyrex dish with nonstick spray.
- Toast four slices of sourdough bread. Place toasted bread in a single layer on the bottom of the dish.
- Spread approximately 1 tsp of dijon mustard on the top of each sourdough slice.
- Add several thin slices of ham on top of the dijon.
- Top the ham with appoximately 1/4 to 1/3 cup of bechamel sauce. Sprinkle the top of the open faced sandwiches with remaining gruyere cheese.
- Place in oven beneath broiler for about 3 to 5 minutes or until gruyere is melted and lightly browned.
- While the open faced sandwiches are in the broiler. Spray a skillet with nonstick spray. Cook each egg separately to your liking. I prefer sunny side up or poached.
- Remove open faced sandwiches from oven. Place each one on a plate and top with your “fried” egg.
- Enjoy heaven!