When we talk about French cuisine, many of us would picture something classy, upscale in our mind. However, French food that brings you happiness does not always require fancy ingredients. Croque monsieur is the perfect example. This type of hot ham and cheese sandwich has been a popular quick snack item since the early twentieth century. Croque madame, croque monsieur’s wife, is a variant of the dish which comes with a hat: a fried egg.
There’re many versions of its origin story, but who cares? All you need to know is that it only requires common ingredients, it’s easy to make and absolutely scrumptious!
First, let’s make Béchamel sauce to be spread on the bread.
Béchamel sauce Ingredients:
- 20g butter
- 20g flour
- 200-250ml milk
- grated Parmesan optional
- Melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, stir constantly until mixture turns into a paste, about 2 min.
- Add milk gradually, stir consistently with a whisk / spatula, until the sauce becomes thick and creamy (thinner than shown in picture, I was taking pictures so wasn’t paying attention…)
- Remove from heat, add grated Parmesan cheese (if desire). Let cool, refrigerate if not used once.
Croque Madame (serves 1):
- 2 slices bread
- 1 egg
- Béchamel sauce, ham, Emmental or Gruyère cheese
You can use any ham you prefer. In terms of cheese, Emmental or Gruyère is ideal.
- Spread bread slices with prepared Béchamel sauce. Top one slice of bread with ham and grated cheese, the other slice with cheese only.
- Place the slice with Béchamel sauce and cheese on top of the slice of bread with ham and cheese.
- Bake at 200 C for around 10 min or until cheese melts and turns golden brown.
- While the sandwich is being baked, make Croque Madame’s hat: sunny side up egg. Top sandwich with the egg.
Serve warm. Damn simple, damn delicious. Voilà, French food made easy.
I personally prefer croque madame, it has more layers of taste with its “hat”. But trust me, both croque monsieur and croque madame are highly satisfying.
If you are adventurous enough, try adding Korean kimchi to the French sandwich, you will be surprised how good it is. No kidding.
Let’s call it croque coréen, invented by me lol.
For carbs lovers: