- Croque Monsieur is basically a gussed-up grilled ham and cheese sandwich, and Croque Madame is the same thing but with a fried egg on top. I had a craving for these yummy sandwiches one day and so I turned to the Internet for some how-to tips. What I found was a load of recipes, all very different. I decided to try each one to see which is the best. So here I present to you my trials and tribulations in the search for the best Croque Madame and Croque Monsieur.
‘The Winner’ is totally based on my personal choice. Try these sandwiches out for yourself and tweak them here or there to make them your own!
The Basic Necessities:
You don’t have to follow these ingredients exactly. Customize your sandwich with your favorite bread or cheese. That’s what I did. Quantities of these ingredients vary depending which sandwich you want to make and how many.
Cheese – Grated (I used a blend of Parmesan and Gruyere)
Bread – Firm and dense works best (I used a walnut sourdough from Cobs)
Ham – Regular deli ham does the trick
Bechamel Sauce – Recipe at http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipes/Side/Eggs-Dairy/recipe.html?dishID=8326
Mustard – Grainy mustard is best, it adds texture and tang
Egg (for Croque Madame)
Skillet – A panini press works better if you have one
Croque Monsieur “The Cheesy”
This one was inspired by FoodTV chef Ina Garten http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/croque-monsieur-recipe/index.html
Pros : Lots of flavour and nice crispyness to the bread. The melted cheesy top of this sandwich makes for great presentation.
Cons: Too rich!
Croque Monsieur “The Frenchy”
This one is French Toast style
- Preheat your skillet on a medium/high heat. Add 1 Tbsp of butter into the skillet.
- Make a simple egg mixture by beating together 2 eggs with a touch of milk (2 Tbsp) in a shallow bowl big enough to fit a slice of bread in. Add paprika (1/4 tsp) and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.
- To assemble the sandwich take two slices of bread and spread some mustard on one side of each slice. Add a thin layer of bechamel sauce and some grated cheese. Then add one or two slices of ham and a little extra cheese to help the sandwich hold together when the cheese melts. Then finish with the top slice of bread.
- Carefully place the sandwich in the egg mixture, then turn the sandwich over to coat the other side.
- Place the sandwich in your hot skillet for about 2 minutes or until golden brown and flip to toast the other side.
Pros: This one is pretty unique. A great way to combine ham and cheese sandwiches with a breakfast favorite.
Cons: The bread, like french toast, isn’t crispy at all.
Croque Madame “The Meaty Misses”
I found this recipe on another food blog and it was claimed to be ‘The right way’. So I gave it a shot.
Pros: see cons.
Cons: Too much meat. I love meat! Which is why I was so intrigued by this recipe in the first place. So, is the high meat to bread ratio a pro or con? After tasting this sandwich it was simply too much. Too much meat and too much cheese made for a very rich sandwich.
Croque Monsieur “The Plain and Simple” (The Winner)
Here is my fourth and final variation. This one is the most simple and the one I thought to be the best. Nothing elaborate and not too rich, but sooo tasty!
- Heat a skillet to medium/high heat
- Take two slices of bread and spread each side of each slice with butter. Lightly toast each side of the bread slices on your skillet.
- Take a toasted bread slice and spread with mustard followed by a somewhat generous layer of bechamel sauce. Sprinkle some grated cheese. Add one or two slices of ham followed by another sprinkle of grated cheese. Top your sandwich off with the last slice of bread.
- Place your sandwich in your heated skillet or panini press. There is no need to butter the pan because the bread is already buttered. After a minute or two flip the sandwich over. It’s done when the cheese is melted on the inside.
- To make this into a Croque Madame add a fried egg on top.