Mondays often carry with them a sense of fresh beginnings and new opportunities. It’s a day to hit the reset button, make plans for the week ahead, and perhaps indulge in a delightful treat to start the day on the right note. One such treat that perfectly encapsulates the essence of a Monday morning is the classic Croque Monsieur. This French-inspired sandwich is a comforting and savory delight that pairs beautifully with a cup of hot coffee or tea. In this Monday Musings article, we’ll not only guide you through the steps to make a delicious Croque Monsieur but also explore the origins and allure of this timeless sandwich.
The Croque Monsieur is a beloved staple of French cuisine, known for its decadent combination of ham, cheese, and creamy béchamel sauce. The name “Croque Monsieur” roughly translates to “Mister Crunch” or “Crunchy Sir,” alluding to the crispy texture of the sandwich when toasted. While the exact origin of this delightful creation is somewhat debated, it is believed to have emerged in French cafés in the early 20th century.
For the Sandwich
- 4 slices of high-quality white bread
- 4 slices of cooked ham
- 1 1/2 cups of Gruyère cheese, grated
- Butter for spreading
- Dijon mustard (optional)
For the Béchamel Sauce
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups of milk
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
|Name:||Monday Musings + Croque Monsieur|
|Prep Time||15 minutes|
|Cooking Time||15 minutes|
|Total Time||30 minutes|
Calories: 450-500 kcal
Dietary Fiber: 2-3g
Saturated Fat: 15-18g
1. Prepare the Béchamel Sauce
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
Stir in the flour and cook for about 2 minutes, until it becomes a light golden color.
Gradually whisk in the milk, ensuring there are no lumps.
Continue to cook and whisk until the sauce thickens, usually about 5-7 minutes.
Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and nutmeg (if using), and then set it aside.
2. Assemble the Sandwich
Lay out the slices of bread on a clean surface.
Spread a thin layer of butter on one side of each slice.
If desired, spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on the other side of each slice.
Place a slice of ham and a generous amount of grated Gruyère cheese between two slices of bread, with the buttered side facing out.
3. Cook the Sandwich
Heat a non-stick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.
Carefully place the assembled sandwiches onto the skillet and cook until they are golden brown and the cheese inside has melted, typically 3-4 minutes per side.
4. Serve and Enjoy
Once the sandwiches are beautifully golden and crispy, remove them from the skillet.
Let them cool slightly for a moment before slicing them diagonally.
Serve your Croque Monsieur hot, perhaps with a simple side salad, and enjoy the delightful blend of flavors and textures.
… followed by a fantastic meal at one of our favorite Boston restaurants (definitely the best in the North End). I ordered what I always order at Giacomo’s: Pumpkin Tortellini.
I almost never order pasta dishes with cream sauces, but this tortellini is absolutely worth the splurge; plus, the serving size is huge, so you can easily get 2-3 meals out of one plateful.
4. I’m sharing a lightened recipe for a Croque Monsieur (the classic Parisian fork-and-knife béchamel-smothered ham & cheese sandwich) today on The Back Burner.
One of my favorite lunches to order during both of my trips to France, this sandwich is easy to make at home and tastes absolutely divine!