The Classic, Glorified Ham and Cheese,
I’m all about cheese melting and crunchy bread, put this gorgeous sandwich in front of me and the giddiness shall begin!
Allow me to introduce you to my favorite sandwich ever, the classic Croque Monsieur. This is the fancy version of the old stand by, toasted ham and cheese, and is easier to make than you might think.
Don’t think that a Croque Monsieur is a generic slap-a-piece-of-cheese-on kind of sandwich. In fact it’s a pimped up, gorgeous tasting and rather posh smoked ham, Gruyere and Bechamel (white sauce) toasted until all that cheese is melted into perfection.
You can enjoy a Croque Monsieur anytime, I’ve even been known to have one for breakfast using an English muffin instead of the crusty bread, and yes, those are good days. Whatever you do, don’t skimp the Bechamel! You can make the Bechamel up to 3 or 4 days ahead and keep it in the fridge, then when you are ready, just get a spoonful out and spread it on continuing as per the recipe.
Here’s to your new favorite! You’re welcome 😉
- • 2 tablespoons Butter
- • 2 tablespoons Flour
- • 1 ¼ cups Milk, heated
- • 1 teaspoon dried Thyme
- • Salt and Pepper, to taste
- • 2 – 4 slices of Bread
- • 2 – 4 teaspoons Mustard
- • 2 cups Gruyere or Emmental cheese, grated
- • Smoked or Honey Ham 2 - 4 slices per sandwich
For the Bechamel (white sauce):
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk just until it starts to bubble, then set aside.
- In a large heavy bottomed skillet, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted sprinkle in the flour, constantly stirring, cook for about 2 minutes until bubbles start form, but don’t let it turn brown. Add in the hot milk while stirring until the sauce thickens, cook for about 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat, toss in about ¾ cup of the shredded Gruyere cheese and the dried thyme, mixing well. Set aside (if making ahead, cover with wax paper or a small layer of milk to prevent the Bechamel (white sauce) from forming a skin).
- Preheat your oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Lightly toast your bread slices in a toaster or in the oven for about 2 minutes.
- Assemble on baking sheet: Spread mustard onto bottom bread slice, then continue layering your sandwich with 2 – 4 slices of the Ham, a generous handful of the cheese and the top slice of bread. Spread a layer of the Bechamel sauce over the top of the sandwich. Repeat and make accordingly to amount serving.
- Place in oven, bake until the cheese is melted. Switch the oven from 400° F to broil and finish off by broiling your sandwiches for about 2 – 3 minutes or until the Bechamel sauce is bubbling and starting to brown.
You can prepare the Bechamel (White Sauce) up to 3 days ahead, storing with wax paper covered over top or a thin layer of milk to prevent the sauce from forming a skin. Keep refrigerated.
Stacey is a Southern girl with a taste for travel, thriving on the discovery of the world through food. After spending many years traveling and living overseas, she’s now back home in her beloved deep south enjoying life with her three little ones and loving the adventure. She’s a food stylist and food photographer, as well as, the creative behind Little Figgy Food, where she loves to inspire others to try new flavors and foodie techniques.