I was reading yesterday that even London fashion week has gone back to basics. As the Guardian reported, instead of last year’s sashimi, this year simple Croque Monsieurs — otherwise known as plain old grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, are all the rage. After all, there is no food more cheap, cheerful and comforting as melted cheese on a buttered grilled piece of bread.
And this is my favourite way of making a Croque Monsieur:
Croque Monsieur for 4 people:
-8 big slices of Poulaine Bread (I love Poulaine bread, but any type of sour dough bread works)
-4 slices of ham
-3 good healthy handfuls of gruyere cheese
-200 ml milk
-1 tablespoon of flour
-20 g butter
To make the bechamel sauce: Melt the butter in a pan and add in the flour. Gradually add the milk, mixing constantly to avoid lumps. When the sauce starts to thicken continue cooking it for 2 minutes and then let it cool down to make the Croque Monsieur. (If you want to be really decadent, add an extra handful of gruyere to the bechamel).
Beat the egg and mixed it together with the cheese. Generously butter the slices of bread. Place a slice of bread with the buttered side down on a grill pan. Add on a slice of ham and some of cheese on top of the slice of bread and close the sandwich with a second slice of bread this time with the butter side facing up. Spread some bechamel sauce on top of the sandwich and finish off with more cheese. Repeat with the rest of the sandwiches and then grill until all the cheese is melted.
Now this is the basic recipe. Here are some of the variations I have come up with:
- I love adding some mustard onto my bread and some tomatoes, but my girls hate it!
- Add a fried egg on top of the croque to turn the Croque Monsieur into a Croque Madame.
- And finally the vegetarian option, leave out the ham and add in sundried tomato or olive tapanade.
Oh, and if you serve it with a green salad dressed with vinaigrette, I promise you will feel like you are sitting at a bistro in Paris! Enjoy!
You can download the recipe for Croque Monsieur here.