Croque Monsieur is the French version of a toasted ham and cheese sandwich. And, like many things, the French do it better 😉
This Croque Monsieur recipe was inspired but the amazing adventure to Europe my husband and I just returned home from. Our past two weeks were spent traveling (kid free!) with my husband’s family to Rome and Paris and I’m already missing all of the amazing food, history, art, and culture of Europe.
We had a BLAST spending so much quality time with our siblings, who we don’t get to see often. My two sister-in-laws are both pregnant as well and it was fun strutting three “beautiful bellies” all over two of Europe’s greatest cities, together. Here are a few photos from our time in Paris.
(Nice view of my 24 week pregnant belly! Baby boy coming early February!)
I was (obviously) completely inspired by the food we ate throughout our trip and I can’t wait to recreate my favorite dishes for you all. FIRST UP: Croque Monsieur, which you can find on almost every restaurant menu in Paris! I could eat this amazing french-style ham and cheese sandwich every. single. day. Serve it with a warm bowl of French onion soup and I’m in heaven! (Authentic French onion soup recipe coming soon!) The sandwich pictured below was from a fun patio lunch we enjoyed on the streets at Montmartre Paris.
Croque Monsieur sandwiches are pretty simple. You spread bread slices with a thin layer of béchamel sauce (a white sauce that couldn’t be easier to make–I’m sure you have all of the ingredients you need in your pantry.). Add a layer of ham and cheese, and repeat with another bread slice and more cheese. Pop it in the oven and allow it to toast up all nice and bubbly.
A few tips for success:
- Good quality ingredients matter, particularly fresh cheeses and good quality ham! Most of the places where we had Croque Monsieur in Paris used Emmental cheese, but I found that hard to find. I do know that Gruyere is commonly used as well, so either will work.
- The béchamel can be made one day in advance to cut down on prep. Make it as instructed, allow it to cool. Place plastic wrap directly onto surface and chill.
- My other favorite way to eat this in Paris was with a fried egg on top, called a Croque Madame. You make the recipe as instructed, frying the eggs in a separate saucepan while the sandwiches toast. Place the egg on top of the final product. Delicious!
- ¼ cup ½ stick unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups whole milk
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 tsp dijon mustard
- Dash ground nutmeg
- 8 thin slices white sandwich bread
- 5 oz. good quality ham about 8 slices
- 6 oz. Gruyère or Emmental cheese grated (about 2½ cups)
- 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Gradually add milk, stirring well until the mixture is smooth. Cook, stirring, until sauce is thickened. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper. Remove from heat and whisk in mustard and nutmeg.
Preheat oven to 425° F. Spread bread slices with a layer of béchamel, spreading it all the way to the edges. Place 4 slices of bread, béchamel side up, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Top each with a piece of ham, a handful of gruyere, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Place remaining slices of bread on top, béchamel side up, then top with remaining gruyere and parmesan cheese.
Bake at 425 degrees F for about 5-6 minutes, until cheese is melted, and then turn the oven to broil and broil until the cheese on top is golden, 2-4 minutes.
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