April 23, 2009

Croque Monsieur

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.

Croque Monsieur
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
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.


  1. Wow, I have not had one of these since I was in Paris and your post brought me right back. I wish I could take a bite.

  2. I'm glad you have found a fondness for swiss in this recipe. I'm sure you could substitute for a more palatable cheese if you wanted.

  3. So sweet of you to make this for your dairy-loving mom! Even your purse camera photos look good! This was once of my favorites.

  4. This looks so amazing and gooey!! Delish!! I need to try this for my family on a Saturday afternoon. Bravo!

    A fellow foodie blogger

  5. This was just a wonderful sandwich.

    I loved it.

  6. Your photos are great and I'll bet that bread was perfect. This was a keeper for sure.

  7. I love white chocolate and rasberry together! Thanks for this idea.

  8. Your sandwich looks great--glad both you andyour Mom liked it. Sounds like the perfect dinner choice for her! ;-)

  9. Mmm, that sandwich looks divine! I'm so glad your mom enjoyed it. It must be good if it can make you forget that you don't like Swiss :) Mmm, you're giving me a craving for a Croque Monsieur. By the way, I've never heard of Roman Meal bread; what's it like?

  10. I ♥ reading your blog! And your sandwiches are terrific looking, even with the "purse camera!" Keep on cookin'!

  11. Anne, all of my pictures are purse camera pictures - so I need to issue a blanket apology for all of my photos! Your croque monsier looks incredible! I LOVED this sandwich and am really craving another one right about now.

  12. Aren't you cute making this for your Mum? And don't worry about the sandwich - you need the calcium right now for the passeneger!

  13. I do love my dairy, all except plain milk that is! This sandwich was as good as it looks. For the record, I'm waiting for someone to design a DSLR the size of my purse camera and you'll be coveting mine!

  14. the bread sounds FABULOUS! good choice. I'm a fan of this recipe :)

  15. I had an amazing croque monsieur at a little French bistro in NYC maybe even one year ago today and it is my favorite "indulgent" sammy! I'll have to try Ina's when I "must have" this again and can't get to NYC! ;)
    Looks de-lish!