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Croque-Monsieur Sandwich sliced and stacked on a white plate with grapes and strawberries

Croque-Monsieur Sandwich

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The Croque-Monsieur Sandwich is a French classic made with ham and cheese, topped with a cheese sauce, then baked before a final broiling.

This upscale Grilled Cheese Sandwich got the picky hubby’s attention. He wasn’t sure how to pronounce the French name, but he definitely won’t forget it! If you’re looking for a lunch recipe to impress, this croque monsieur is the answer!

Croque-Monsieur Sandwich sliced and stacked on a white plate with grapes and strawberries

Croque-Monsieur Sandwich

The croque or crispy mister, as it translates, is basically a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a smear of mustard. Gruyere is the cheese of choice and the recipe I selected from Ina Garten included a topping of bechamel with even more Gruyere. Baked then broiled, it is an unpretentious, yet extraordinary treat.

I made a sample to photograph and gave a bite to both Bill and son, Nick, who was home for Easter. Both asked for another for dinner instead of the chicken Parmesan I had planned to serve. Gooey and obviously irresistible, you’ll have to give these a try.

Family on Omaha Beach, France

The family on Omaha Beach~

Here are some of the variations of the Croque-Monsieur sandwich via Wikipedia:

  • croque -madame or croque-à-cheval (topped with a fried or poached egg)
  • croque provençal (with tomato)
  • croque auvergnat (with bleu d”Auvergne cheese)
  • croque gagnet (with Gouda and andouille)
  • croque norvégien (with smoked salmon instead of ham)
  • croque tartiflette (with sliced potatoes and Reblochon cheese)
  • croque bolognese / croque Boum-Boum (with Bolognese sauce)
  • croque señor (with tomato salsa)
  • croque Hawaiian (with a slice of pineapple)
  • “Croque McDo” sandwich at found at French McDonald’s

Kids on Normandy Beach, France

A French Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Traveling with picky palates can be stressful. Hubby would not be satisfied with a girlified dinner of salad and soup…and the even more discriminating daughter scans every menu for pizza, pasta or chicken fingers. So while traveling through France last summer, I probably didn’t get the total foodie experience I was craving. The boys were easier to please and I made them my guinea pigs. I insisted on a late night snack of Nutella crepes while sitting along the breathtaking Cannes’ waterfront. One is now a Nutella addict.

Isn’t it crazy that it was my idea??? The foodie in me wanted a sample, of course, without having to eat the whole thing.  Another evening, after a long day of touring the picturesque abbey of Mt. Saint Michel and the Normandy beaches, we ended up on the quiet main drag of Saint-Lô looking for a bite to eat.

French Ham and Cheese Sandwich stacked on a square white plate

We walked by restaurant after restaurant, reading menus, ruling out spot after the next, as our stomachs growled with hunger, till we finally landed at a pub…where only 3 regulars sat at the bar. Some menus were dusted off…and despite a major language barrier, we all ordered  a Croque-Monsieur, a French classic.

As we waited patiently for our meal, I surmised that these French ham and cheese sandwiches were being retrieved from deep inside a freezer, taken from a frost covered box. Underwhelmed, but starving, we all cleaned our plates. Surely, that was not a typical of this famous snack which started appearing in Parisian cafes in 1910.

A Croque Monsieur on a white plate with a red handled knife

 

Yield: 8 servings

Croque-Monsieur Sandwich

Croque-Monsieur Sandwich

A French ham and cheese sandwich topped with a luscious cheese sauce!

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour (I use Wondra brand to prevent lumps)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • A few grates of fresh nutmeg
  • 12 ounces Gruyere (grated)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 16 slices bread (I used Brioche)
  • Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 slices very thin Prosciutto per sandwich (thicker sliced Virginia ham may be substituted)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour (I use Wondra brand to prevent lumps)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • A few grates of fresh nutmeg
  • 12 ounces Gruyere (grated)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 16 slices bread (I used Brioche)
  • Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 slices very thin Prosciutto per sandwich (thicker sliced Virginia ham may be substituted)

Instructions

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400º.
  2. Melt the butter over low heat in a saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for a couple minutes. Slowly pour the milk into the mixture and cook while whisking constantly till the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.
  3. Toast your bread in a toaster, remove, then spread half the slices with with mustard, followed by 2-3 slices of Prosciutto on each. and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top each with another piece of toasted bread. Place sandwiches on a baking sheet. Cover 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. Cool slightly before serving.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1 sandwich

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 463 Total Fat: 22g Saturated Fat: 12g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 9g Cholesterol: 67mg Sodium: 1189mg Carbohydrates: 41g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 4g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 24g
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63 comments on “Croque-Monsieur Sandwich”

  1. Oh, OK it means “crispy mister”. I used to think of it as Mr’s Croque, whatever croque meant. Sounds like a very delish sandwich 🙂 I guess it would do no harm if I used cheddar, right?

  2. Mmmm so many people love Croque Monsieur and after reading your recipe, I see why 🙂

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  3. One of my favorite movies! I LOVE Meryl Streep! These sandwiches look amazing too!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Liz, you need to go back to France immediately and re-train them how to make this French classic. I had one delicious Croque Monsieur on my very first visit as a teen. Since then, however, my experience has been the cheapest of cheap bread, plastic cheese, plastic ham. It is such a shame when it can be so fantastic when it is done properly – as you demonstrate so well.

  5. There are a lot of terrible croque monsieurs out there, but yours looks to die for! I love Meryl Streep but haven’t seen It’s Complicated yet – I must do soon!

  6. Before I read the post I immediately thought of “It’s Complicated”. It’s one of the movies that keep me company while I’m baking. Ever since that movie I’ve wanted to try the cripsy mister, thanks for sharing the recipe and family pics. I would have very high hopes for dining in France also.

  7. Oh liz, I sure want to try this sandwich. I’ve seen the one from Ina, and somehow I missed the scene in Meryl and Steve’s movie. But yours here has me fixated, no wonder your sons asked for more. I know earlier I mentioned the 4 food groups on the plate, but I got to tell you, I’d forego the two groups on the sides for more…sandwich!

  8. This was such a fun Sunday Supper topic this week. 🙂 Ina Garten’s bechamel version reminds me a little of a Louisiana hot brown. Either way, you can’t go wrong with more creamy, cheesy goodness.

  9. I have never made one of these kinds of sandwiches… now I’m wondering why? It looks fabulous. 🙂

  10. Looks like one can drive on that beach! Nice photos of your family and I enjoyed the foodie tales. I can just imagine you enjoying Nutella crepes with your boys and that lovely view. Too bad about the French classic let down. You made up for it later though and the family was appreciative – so it makes for a good story. 🙂

  11. Great anecdote about your travels. We’ve had similar situations where we’ve searched and searched for that perfect foodie experience while abroad, only to find ourselves starving and settling on something typical or underwhelming. It makes me wonder how to have that perfect “foodie” experience while traveling.

  12. Yikes, Liz, I’m sorry you had mediocre croque monsieurs in France, of all places! Good thing you’re a magician in the kitchen and was able to whip up this decadent, indulgent treat yourself. This looks incredible! I love how you tried to healthy it up w/ the asparagus and strawberries 😉 You’re definitely right – don’t even think about the calories, just enjoy every single bite!

  13. Liz,
    My husband says he eats everything but I’d have to leave out the nutmeg for him to eat these – definitely a picky palate too. They look so good – just the word prosciutto makes my mouth water.
    Annamaria

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