One of my favorite sandwiches is the Croque Monsieur. It is a very popular French dish. You will find it a lot in Bistro in France, served with a side of salad. A Croque Monsieur is a very simple dish made with bread, bechamel sauce, ham and cheese. We also add Dijon Mustard to give it a little kick.
What type of bread should I use?
I use White Bread as it is easier to find but if you have a nice country bread or grains bread, it will be delicious. Just as long as you can have nice equal size slices, it will work. White bread makes it easier to chew so it is my go to options with kids. You can find my recipe for a quick and easy White Bread here.
Tips for the Bechamel
Bechamel sauce is a French “staple” when it comes to sauce. We use it in all sorts of Gratin, Lasagna, Croque Monsieur, in Crepes etc
To prepare it, we first make what is called a “roux”. A roux is a mix of equal amount of flour and fat (in our case, butter). It is the basis of a lot of French sauce.
You first want to melt the butter in a saucepan. Then add your flour all at once. Stir until well combine and cook for a couple of minutes. This is your roux. Now we need to add a liquid. To make a Bechamel, we add milk. Gradually add cold milk. Make sure to use a whisk to stir all the time to avoid lump. Once it starts bubbling, reduce heat and cook for an additional 2 minutes (until it thickens). We then add a pinch of Nutmeg, which gives its very particular taste to the Bechamel, and of course salt and pepper.
Make it in advance
One of the great things about the Croque Monsieur is that you can totally prepare it the day before. The Bechamel can be made in advance, so you only have to assemble your Croque Monsieur when you want to eat. Or even better if you plan to have guests over and want to maximize your time. Prepare them the day before (assemble them). One the D-Day you will just have to bake them in the oven and serve.
Turn your Croque Monsieur into a Madam
My favorite is actually the Croque Madame. Just top your Croque Monsieur with a sunny side up egg to turn it into a Croque Madame. I just love cutting into the sandwich when topped with an egg. The yolk just drips everywhere and definitely add such a great flavor to the sandwich.
- 8 slices of white bread
- 4 slices of ham
- Mustard optional
- Shredded Gruyere Cheese
For the Bechamel
- 30 g butter
- 30 g flour
- 250 g milk
- Salt and Pepper
Preparation of the Bechamel
- Melt the butter in a saucepan on low heat. Add the flour at once. Whisk slowly and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Gradually add milk, stirring until mixture is smooth. Cook until the Bechamel thickens. Make sure to keep whisking all the time to avoid lumps.
- Add a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Spread a bit of mustard on a slice of bread. Heavenly spread some bechamel on top. Add a slice of ham. Top with another slice of bread. Spread bechamel on it, sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.