Thursday, July 30, 2009

Miss the Paris Cafes? Have a Croque Monsieur!

Pin It The Croque Monsieur, or “Crispy Mister,” appeared on Parisian café menus in 1910. The original Croque Monsieur was simply a hot ham and Gruyere cheese sandwich, fried in butter. Some believe it was accidentally created when French workers left their lunch pails by a hot radiator and came back later to discover the cheese in their sandwiches had melted.

Found all over France today, the Croque Monsieur - casually referred to as a Croque - has as many recipes and variations as it has cooks. I like mine fancy, with a nice Mornay Sauce* on top! It is second on my list only to the Reuben which is, hands down, my all time favorite. (the Pulled Pork sandwich is not far behind!)

This crunchy sandwich is served as an appetizer, snack, or casual meal. Try this recipe for an incredible experience. Bon appetit!

A nice double espresso should get you through the afternoon!

Serves 4 for a meal or 8 for a snack


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
16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
Dijon mustard
8 ounces baked Virginia 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.

To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.

Lightly brush half the toasted breads 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

*A Mornay sauce is a Béchamel sauce with shredded or grated cheese added. Usually, it consists of half Gruyère and half Parmesan cheese, though some variations use different combinations of Gruyère, Emmenthal cheese, or white Cheddar


  1. The sandwiches look delicious. I will be in Paris in just a few days. I am really looking forward to experiencing good local French food and wine. I will keep my eye out for those type of sandwiches.

    Right now, I have the opportunity to discover Holland's food culture. I have taken lots of photos and have so much that I want to write when I return to the states late next week.

  2. I look forward to your comments after your trip. Bon voyage!

  3. I took up cooking about a year ago and love it and do many of your recipes. I would like to make the Daniel Boulud's Croque Madame but the meat departments of our local stores do not understand the jambon de Paris style. Is there an alternative in the Atlanta area?

  4. Mitch, the jambon de paris has about 30% less salt than ours. Use the low sodium boar's head deluxe ham. Sliced very thin but not paper thin! that's what I use. Also, some stores carry "French Ham". Try also Trader Joe's and see what they have. Im new to the Atlanta area but if I find anythin else will let you know.

    I'm so glad you are enjoying the blog. Thanks for leaving a comment, they are much appreciated. Keep me posted on your cooking!


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