1/15/09

Croque-Madame

Croque Madame

Ooh la la! Hey guys! Miss me??? Think I was dead? Nah... I just got caught up with the holidays, which was followed by a short trip to NYC, then back home to start my diet yet AGAIN. So I've been working out at the gym every day and that's been making me want to go to bed a bit earlier, so my free time has been shrinking lately. Plus, I just did not want to be in front of the computer! I just wanted no part of it. Ever feel that way? I missed writing about food and talking about the things I've made, but not enough to sit in front of the computer apparently. But now I feel like I'm back on track, my schedule is starting to gel, I feel renewed, refreshed, and ready to get back to work. I gave the blog a tiny facelift just to switch things up a bit. The jalapenos are just ME, ya know? If I could get away with putting them in everything, I really would. So how have you all been? I see many of you have been checking in almost every day to see if I was among the living and I have to say that is really cool of you. I thought for sure I would look at my stats and see that everyone abandoned me, but that hasn't been the case. So for you, I will vow to post once a week minimum, but I will shoot for more. So let's talk about this sandwich, shall we? This sandwich is called a Croque-Madame and it takes the traditional "hot ham and cheese" and beats its ass to a pulp. Then it laughs at it. Then kicks it one more time because it knows it's THAT much better. This is what you make on one of these freakin' cold days we've been experiencing lately. I made this for breakfast, but this could certainly be a dinner option with a salad on the side as well. And again, it has a fried egg on top... so you know what that means? It's perfect! I fell in love with these sandwiches during my trip to Belgium a few years ago.



I actually ate this for lunch there twice in two different little cafés. They would serve it on a pretty plate with a small garden salad on the side and the sauce and egg yolk from the sandwich would get into the salad and it was all just perfection. Just SO good. I also thought it was such a pretty dish, too. Wouldn't this be so nice to make for your Mom on Mother's Day? I think so. Here's how it's made: First, make a béchamel sauce by melting 3 tablespoons butter in a heavy bottom saucepan over moderately low heat. Then whisk in the flour to form a roux. Cook the roux, whisking for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk and bring it to a boil, whisking constantly. Next, reduce the heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, for 5 minutes. Whisk in salt, pepper, nutmeg, and 1/3 cup cheese until the cheese is melted. Remove from the heat and cover the surface directly with a sheet of wax paper so it doesn't form a skin on top.

béchamel sauce

Next, spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the béchamel sauce evenly over each of the 4 slices of bread, then sprinkle evenly with remaining cheese (1/4 cup per slice). Spread dijon mustard evenly on the remaining 4 bread slices

béchamel and dijon mustard

Top the mustard slices with ham, dividing it evenly, then invert onto cheese-topped bread to form sandwiches. As you can see I buttered the other side of the bread slices.

ham and gruyère cheese

butter and assemble

Next, grill the sandwiches on a hot griddle until golden brown on each side.

grill until golden brown

Place the grilled sandwiches on a cookie sheet and top each sandwich with 1/3 cup more of the béchamel sauce, spreading evenly. Broil the sandwiches 4 to 5 inches from heat until sauce they're bubbling and golden in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the broiler and transfer pan to lower third of oven to keep sandwiches warm.

top with béchamel

Aaawwww yeah babe...

broil béchamel until browned and bubbly

Finally, fry up 4 eggs and top each sandwich with a fried egg. Sprinkle with some parsley for color. These sandwiches are decadent, warm, creamy delicious little pieces of heaven that will warm you up on the coldest of days. Give them a try for something new.



Croque-Madame

These sandwiches are decadent, warm, creamy delicious little pieces of ...

See Croque-Madame on Key Ingredient.

4 comments:

  1. I ALSO fell in love with these while I was in Belgium. We ate at our first only-French language restaurant (nobody understood english, god-help-me) -- and it was the only thing I could understand that didn't have fish in its ingredients. LOL

    My croque was served on more of a huge piece of bread at one particular bistro, and thinner at yet another. Both just super tasty!

    Welcome back. :)

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  2. This was a favorite of ours at the little French bistro on our block in San Francisco

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  3. Those sandwiches look good!

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