After watching Meryl Streep in It’s Complicated, I learned how to make a Croque Monsieur and found it to be a meal that was rich and decadent, but simple and short on time. So then I thought I’d make it’s counterpart – Croque Madame.
With generous amounts of gruyere cheese and savory Virginia ham topped with a its signature – a fried egg , your appetite will be more than satisfied. Add an arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette dressing, shavings of parmesan and pine nuts, along with a glass of crisp white wine, and you have a simple date night meal at home.
(via Alex’s Day Off – Alex Guarnaschelli)
- 6 ounces unsalted butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 8 slices thick sourdough bread
- 8 to 12 slices good quality ham (about 3/4 pound)
- 12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated, divided
- Nonstick spray
- 4 eggs
1. Preheat the broiler.
2. Make the béchamel sauce: In a small saucepan, melt 1 ounce butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until you smell the flour and butter cooking, 2 to 3 minutes. Do not allow it to brown. Add the milk and bay leaf and cook, stirring from time to time, until the mixture thickens like a soup, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the Parmesan. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
3. Arrange 4 slices of the bread on a flat surface. Top each with 2 to 3 slices of ham. Mix together half of the Gruyere cheese and the béchamel sauce. Taste for seasoning. Spread a little of the sauce on top of the ham and top each with another slice of bread.
4. Heat a large cast iron skillet and, when hot, add half of the remaining butter. Add 2 of the sandwiches and brown on one side, 2 minutes. Turn on the other side and brown 2 more minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining butter and sandwiches. Spread the remaining béchamel on top of the sandwiches and top with the other half of the Gruyere cheese.
5. Wipe any crumbs from the cast iron skillet and spray with nonstick spray. Crack 4 eggs into the skillet, leaving a little room between each. (Alternatively, fry 2 at a time). While the eggs are frying, place the sandwiches under the broiler and broil until the top becomes golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Season the eggs with salt and top each sandwich with a fried egg. Serve immediately.