Croque Monsieur is a very popular sandwich from France and sounds really fancy but is in reality just a basic ham and cheese with bechamel sauce toasted on top. Croque Madame is the same sandwich but with a lightly fried egg on top. But traditionally these sandwiches are just the toasted ham and cheese that are grilled or toasted. Madame is the same but with chicken and cheese.
¼ cup unsalted butter (½ stick)
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1½ cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper
dash of freshly grated nutmeg
8 slices white bread
5 ounces good quality ham about 8 slices
6 ounces Gruyere cheese ,or Emmental cheese, grated (about 2½ cups)
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
For a Croque Madame, add on fried egg on top of the finished sandwich If you want a traditional Croque, omit the Bechamel Sauce and cut off the crusts.
For a traditional Croque Madame, substitute the ham for chicken or turkey breast.
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. Set aside while you make the sandwiches, or make the sauce up to 1 week in advance.
Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a baking tray with parchement paper and set aside.
Spread each bread slice with a layer of béchamel, spreading it all the way to the edges. Place 4 slices of bread, béchamel side up, on prepared 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 lightly golden, 2-4 minutes.