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This is how the French make a ham and cheese sandwich and it is amazing

French ham and cheese sandwich (croque monsieur)
French ham and cheese sandwich (croque monsieur)
Sherry Smith-Noble

This is a French version of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, and it is tres délicieux! This is not just two slices of bread with cheese and ham -- you will be amazed at this combination of ingredients and you may never make a ham sandwich any other way again.

Known as “croque monsieur”, it can be made many different ways, as everyone has their special recipe. (If you put a fried or poached egg on top, it’s known as croque madam.) This recipe uses a béchamel sauce on top and it is oh my goodness amazing! It’s easy to make and well worth any effort.

Although it’s a French recipe, it has something in common with other European sandwiches: it has one thin slice of meat per sandwich. In the United States we are used to meats and cheeses piled high with the bread just being the bookends to keep it all together; in Europe the focus is on the bread just as much as the ingredients in the middle.

Croque Monsieur Recipe

Ingredients for Croque Monsieur (4 sandwiches):

  • 8 slices of bread
  • 4 thin slices of ham, each slice should be the same size as the slice of bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 ½ cups Gruyere cheese, grated (you can also use Swiss cheese)
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Dijon mustard

Directions for making Croque Monsieur:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a skillet, melt the butter then whisk in the flour. Let cook for one minute whisking constantly, then whisk in the milk. Continue whisking until thickened. Remove from the heat. Stir in ¼ cup of the Gruyere and all of the parmesan.

Assemble the sandwiches by placing the slices of bread on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and toast for 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn each slice of bread over.

Spread a very little bit of the Dijon mustard on 4 slices of the bread. Place a thin slice of ham over the mustard. Sprinkle ¼ cup of Gruyere over the ham on each sandwich. Put the remaining slices of bread on top of the cheese on each sandwich.

Spoon the cheese sauce on the top of each sandwich using all of the sauce and sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere. Bake for 5 minutes, then place under the broiler for an additional 3 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.

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