One of Barry's favorite cafe foods is the Croque Monsieur – a ham and cheese sandwich. But this is no ordinary ham and cheese sandwich, this is Paris, after all. The French add a creamy béchamel sauce to the ham and cheese inside, then they grate Gruyere cheese on the top, and place the sandwich in a broiler until the exterior is crusty and bubbling. It's an explosion of flavors in your mouth!
So take a trip with me to the Left Bank, and try this delicious Parisian specialty. - Debbie
At a glance
4 slices thick high quality country sandwich bread
4 slices black forest ham
4 slices Emmentaler cheese
2/3 cup grated Gruyere cheese
½ cup Béchamel sauce (using your favorite recipe)
4 tablespoons butter
Make the Béchamel sauce, allow to cool. (This sauce can be made a day or two in advance – allow to come to room temperature before using)
Preheat the oven to Broil.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in an oven-proof saute pan on medium heat on the stove. When the butter is hot, place two slices of bread in the pan. On each slice, place 2 slices of the Emmentaler cheese, place 2-3 tablespoons of Béchamel sauce on top of the cheese, then add 2 slices of ham on top of the sauce. Cover each sandwich with an additional slice of bread. Place a tablespoon of butter on each slice of bread.
At this point, the bottom slices of bread should be nicely browned. Flip the sandwiches over, and top the browned side of the bread with 1-2 tablespoons of Béchamel sauce. Place 3-4 tablespoons of grated Gruyere cheese on the top.
Place the saute pan near the top rack of the broiler until cheese is bubbly and browned. Remove immediately – be careful as the pan handle will be extremely hot.
Serve immediately, enjoy while hot!