Wednesday, September 21, 2011

croque monsieur

Croque Monsieur

Ever had a Croque Monsieur?  No?  Well, let me introduce you to the Rolls Royce of ham and cheese sandwiches.  This is not your granny's ham and cheese.  Elegant, rich and super cheesy, this is the ham and cheese to make right before you tell your husband you crashed the car.  Or bought this purse.  Not that I would condone manipulating your husband with food.  But, if you were going to do it, which of course I would totally advise against {ahem}, this would be the sandwich to do that with...

Serve these alongside a simple spinach or arugula salad and you're done.

This recipe is from the ever amazing Barefoot Contessa.  It is one of many sinfully good recipes in her Barefoot in Paris cookbook.  You can also find it on her website here.  I copied it below and inserted a few of my own notes as well.

Ready to cook?  Me too.

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Here is what you'll need:
{side note: these sandwiches are on the petite side, so serve 1-2 per person.  this recipe will yield 8 petite sandwiches}

2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated {5 cups}
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
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.

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.  {This will eliminate the raw flour taste.  just be careful not to brown the butter.}  Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture {I find it helpful to add the milk in batches} and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened.  {It should have the consistency of heavy cream}.  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 two 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 {or two} of ham to each, and sprinkle with half of 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 3-5 minutes until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned.  Serve hot.

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{if you would like to check out more of my recipe posts, I have added a "recipes" category to the right so they are all in one easy to find spot.  happy cooking!}

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