Loaded with melted gruyere, thick cheese bechamel sauce, ham and mustard, this French classic, is arguably the best hot ham and cheese sandwich you can find. A favourite all over France and beyond, it is a personal favourite of mine in the mountains – walking in the summer or skiing in the winter, a Croque Monsieur is my go to lunch.
To be honest, pre-Covid, I didn’t make it in London. But this winter, on our third lockdown and unable to travel, I was craving this delicious sandwich and fortunately I had the time to re-create my favourite version. Charlotte has been a very happy taster and has taken it to work to test out how it warms up in the microwave the day after it was made. It was a tough job, but she was more than up for the task.
I am happy to report that not only does it warm up very well in the microwave, you can also freeze it prior to cooking and cook it from frozen. Why make just one when you can make more and have a hassle free meal on later occasion?
How to make Croque Monsieur
Collect all your ingredients together:
25g unsalted butter
25g plain/all-purpose flour
½ tablespoon grainy mustard
⅛ teaspoon fine salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg
60g Gruyere cheese, grated
4 slices of bread
80g ham – I used French Torchon Ham, smoked ham would be lovely too
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
60g Gruyere cheese, grated divided
How to bring it all together:
First make the bechamel sauce –
In a medium saucepan melt the butter, add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes stirring continuously with a wooden spoon or balloon whisk.
Pour in the milk all at once, mix vigorously with a balloon whisk until evenly incorporated and there are no lumps. Bring to the boil – as it heats, the sauce will thicken.
Now I prefer to use my wooden spoon or spatula again. Reduce the temperature and simmer gently for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring continuously.
Add the remaining ingredients: the mustard, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cheese and cook stirring, until thoroughly mixed and the cheese has melted.
Now bring the sandwich together:
Lightly toast the bread
Spread ¼ of the bechamel on one slice of bread and a further ¼ on the second piece of bread.
Top with a slice of ham and spread the ham with some Dijon mustard.
Sprinkle ¼ of the cheese on one slice and a further ¼ on the second piece.
Top each with a second slice of lightly toasted bread.
Spread both equally with the remaining bechamel cheese and scatter over the rest of the cheese.
Bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven for 20 – 25 minutes until the cheese has melted, is a light golden brown and bubbling hot
Serve sprinkled with some chopped chives and prepare to eat this heavenly sandwich!
1 Lightly toasted bread
2 Cheese bechamel
3 Ham and …
… Dijon mustard
4 Grated cheese
5 More toasted bread
6 Bechamel and cheese
A Croque Madame is simply a Croque Monsieur served with a fried egg. Very filling and exceedingly delicious.
Made this recipe?
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