I’ve been trying to get to France for over the last decade. If I play my cards right, I’ll finally make it there next spring/summer. In high school I took French, and fell in love with the language. One of the first chapters was on food, and mentioned croque monsieurs along with l’orangeade and l’escargot. I also learned the word for window which is fenêtre, which is the root of the word defenestrate – to throw (a person or thing) out of a window. The more you know.
In honor of national grilled cheese month, I made croque monsieurs last weekend with my own twist. In case you don’t know, croque monsieurs are hot ham and cheese sandwiches topped with bechamel and more cheese. I swapped in croissants for white sandwich bread and buddy it was good. After nearly devouring the entire croque, my husband turned to me and said “this is totally unhealthy isn’t it?” To which I replied “yeah, but it’s darn good.” Bon appetit!
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups hot milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch nutmeg
- 12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 8 croissants
- 8 ounces honey ham, sliced but not paper thin
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.
Halve and toast the croissants, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 4 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.
Lightly brush half the croissant with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.
More croques around the interwebs: