If I had to list my mom's favorite foods, or maybe foods that remind me most of her, grilled cheese might be number three or four. She makes hers with Colby Jack (pepper jack if the fridge is well stocked) and Roman Meal bread, generously slathered with butter. You see, my mom is a dairy man's daughter. While she might be afraid of too many carbs or million-ounce fountain drinks from QT, she's never shied away from butter. Or cheese. Or milk. Maybe all that Calcium and those vitamins are hiding secrets, though, because my mom looks at least 10 years younger than she is.
Anyways, when I saw the Croque Monsieur was this week's Barefoot Blogger's recipe, I knew I had to make it for my mom, not for my thinks-he's-lactose-intolerant-but-probably-just-loves-meat-and-carbs-most husband. And it was a hit. I went to Sprouts for some yummy, dense Italian bread dotted with chunks of roasted garlic and gruyere (I found Jarlsberg). Of course I spent 50 bucks, but don't worry, there's going to be some good green salsa and sweet pork burritos posted soon. And as for all this dairy? I'll admit it makes me a little nervous, besides the beneficial calcium. Nonetheless, this amazing sandwich is totally worth it. I felt French eating it, and even forgot I hate Swiss Cheese. Yes, Ina Garten has super powers. Kind of like my mom.
I wish I could feed you some right now, since I need to ask forgiveness for the "purse camera photos" (my mom hates when I refer to her camera that way, especially since she bought me my "real camera" and covets it) and for forgetting to post my own choice for Barefoot Bloggers. Yikes. It's scheduled to come up this weekend. I know you're dying in anticipation.
from Ina Garten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
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.