A ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top. What’s not to like? This past weekend for dinner I made croque madame which on paper, is just a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, but taste wise, is oh so much more. For me the best part about this incredible sandwich is the rich, cheesy sauce whose crowning ingredient is Gruyere cheese. While Gruyere can be expensive, it’s one of those ingredients I recommend splurging on as you don’t want to substitute it with cheddar cheese or something of that nature.
And in case you’re wondering the only difference between a croque madame and a croque monsieur is that the former has that fried egg on top. Otherwise, the sandwiches are identical.
recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma Breakfast Comforts by Rick Rodgers
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk, warmed
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
5 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt and ground pepper
8 slices good-quality firm white sandwich bread
4 large eggs
1/2 lb thinly sliced Black Forest ham
-In a small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Let bubble without browning, whisking frequently, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the warm milk, raise the heat to medium, and bring to a gentle boil, whisking frequently. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, whisking frequently, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in 3/4 cup of the cheese and 1 teaspoon of the mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl, placing a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the sauce, and let cool.
-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer and bake , turning once, until toasted on both sides, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
-In a large frying pan, melt the removing 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Crack the eggs into the pan. Season with salt and pepper, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the whites are set, about 2 minutes for sunny-side-up eggs. Or carefully flip the eggs and cook to the desired doneness.
-Preheat the broiler. Spread 4 bread slices with the remaining 4 teaspoons mustard. Add an equal amount of the sliced ham and 1 tablespoon of the sauce to each slice. Top with the remaining bread slices. Return the sandwiches to the prepared baking sheet. Spread the remaining sauce over the tops of the sandwiches, and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of the remaining cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to individual plates, top each with a fried egg and serve at once.