I could not have a week of posts dedicated to all things French without including a recipe. In the spirit of my “All things French” week, I am sharing my version of Croque Madame. You can check out my other French posts here: Observations in Paris and Waiting for the Bus in St. Cyprien.
I learned about Croque Madame because about year or two ago it was just going to be our small immediate family for Easter. I asked for ideas on Facebook for recipes that incorporated ham since there would be too few of us to cook an entire ham. My friend posted a recipe for Croque Madame as a suggestion. Since I’d never heard of Croque Madame I ended up checking out several recipes for it. Some versions were open faced and others not. Some used a fried egg and others used poached. They all called for different types of bread. Others called for mustard or some other variance. Essentially though it is a sandwich with cheese, white sauce, and an egg. I settled on my own version.
There are several reasons why I love this recipe.
1) All the ingredients are things that we typically have at home.
2) Even though the ingredients are common, when they are put together the result tastes fancier than it is.
3) This recipe is easy. I can whip this up on a Saturday morning without spending a ton of time in the kitchen.
4) I also end up feeling like I’ve brunched at a bistro.
5) I will not be hungry for a long time after eating it.
Croque Madame (serves 4)
4 slices French Bread
8 slices good quality ham
4 TBL butter
1 TBL flour
¼ cup of diced onion
1 cup milk
1 cup of shredded swiss or gruyere cheese or 1/2 cup of each
Salt and pepper
For the sauce:
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a sauce pan. Add the onions and cook until translucent.
Add 1 tablespoon of flour. Mix and cook for about a minute.
Whisk in milk. Bring to a boil stirring often.
Reduce heat to simmer.
Slowly stir 1/3 cup of shredded cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
Build the openface sandwich:
Set the oven to broil.
Lay the slices of bread on a baking sheet or stone.
For each piece of bread first top with sauce, 2 slices of ham, and then reamining shredded cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and bread is lightly toasted
As the sandwich is in the oven, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium heat. Cook 4 eggs. I do about 2 minutes on each side.
Remove the sandwiches from the oven. Top each one with an egg, and serve.