When it comes to films, I am drawn to exquisite fashion, fabulous houses and food. There are not many DVDs in my library, but if one of the three items listed above are involved, my attention is captured. So it was the case when I went to the theater this past winter to enjoy Meryl Streep in It’s Complicated directed by Nancy Meyers.
Since then I have purchased it and watched it a few more times. Each time I am curious about the tasty delight she seems to quickly whip up in the kitchen for Steve Martin’s character in the scene shown in the above photo. After reminding myself that it was only a Google search away, I discovered a delicious recipe for Croque Monsieur.
Don’t be fooled if someone states that it is similar to a Monte Cristo sandwich. It is more than just a touch better. It may take a bit more time, but it is still quite simple to make.
Complement it with a glass of chardonnay, pinot gris, or viognier and toss a salad of mixed greens or arugula with a dressing of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, topped with freshly grated parmesan and pine nuts, and you will have an impressive, yet simple meal.
Key Things to Keep in Mind:
*Waiting for the sauce to thicken (stirring constantly) will take about 10-12 minutes – have patience. It’s worth it. Delicious!
*You’ll notice in my photo that I didn’t take the crusts off. However, it was still scrumptious. Either way is up to you. I will be taking my crusts off next time just to see the difference.
Croque Monsieur (courtesy of Barefoot Contessa)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups hot milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch nutmeg
- 12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
- Dijon mustard
- 8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. 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. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.
3. To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.
4. Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half 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 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.
Images: (1) The Katy Capsule (2) Simply Luxurious