Croque Monsieur Ham and Cheese Sandwich

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Years ago, a French friend of mine introduced me to Croque-Monsieur, the French version of a toasted ham and Swiss sandwich. I remember it being loaded with butter and cheese, and absolutely the most delicious sandwich in the world. My friend was somewhat addicted to these sandwiches, and after having one myself I could see why. Gruyère cheese and ham just belong together. According to About.com the word croque comes from the verb croquer or “to crunch”. So a Croque-Monsieur roughly translates to “Mister Crunchy”. The feminine version, a “Croque Madam”, includes a fried egg on top. This classic French bistro sandwich is a great way to use up leftover ham.

Croque Monsieur Ham and Cheese Sandwich Recipe

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  • Yield: Makes 4 sandwiches.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • A pinch each of salt, freshly ground pepper, nutmeg, or more to taste
  • 6 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups grated)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (packed)
  • 8 slices of French or Italian loaf bread
  • 12 ounces ham, sliced
  • Dijon mustard

Method

1 Preheat oven to 400°F.

2 Make the béchamel sauce. Melt butter in a small saucepan on medium/low heat until it just starts to bubble. Add the flour and cook, stirring until smooth, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously, cooking until thick. Remove from heat. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in the Parmesan and 1/4 cup of the grated Gruyère. Set aside.

3 Lay out the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven, a few minutes each side, until lightly toasted. For extra flavor you can spread some butter on the bread slices before you toast them if you want.

(Alternatively, you can assemble the sandwiches as follows in step four and grill them on a skillet, finishing them in the broiler with the bechamel sauce.)

4 Lightly brush half of the toasted slices with mustard. Add the ham slices and about 1 cup of the remaining Gruyère cheese. Top with the other toasted bread slices.

5 Spoon on the béchamel sauce to the tops of the sandwiches. Sprinkle with the remaining Gruyère cheese. Place on a broiling pan. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes, then turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese topping is bubbly and lightly browned.

If you top this sandwich with a fried egg it becomes a Croque Madame.

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Adapted from several recipes, including one by Debra Weber of About.com and Ina Garten.

Links:

Croque-Monsieur: The Incriminating Ham Sandwich from the Paupered Chef
Pear and Brie Croque Monsieur by Oswego Tea
Feeding the Masses: Croque Monsieurs by Ms. Glaze's Pommes d'Amour

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Showing 4 of 39 Comments

  • Neko Krys

    I am currently watching the series, Knuckle Heads (in Quebec version because I’m French) and wondering what the “crunchies”.
    I saw on your blog that it was the Croque Monsieur.
    I have read some reviews and I find it amusing this craze. Because in France it is a bit flat “Fast when you have no time.” But that’s what I like in the kitchen. We discover things. We in wonder. We share.
    (and sorry for my bad english)

  • Penny

    This was our Christmas brunch and it was awesome – simple yet special! The rosemary ham, real french bread, and gruyere made it the most satisfying thing in the world, with a nice merlot. Will give serious thought to daring a hint of garlic or scalion next time, and also read on Chowhound that I can freeze the leftover bechamel!

  • Chellspecker

    I’ve had these sandwiches in France, and fell in love. I happened to have some cave-aged Gruyère in the fridge, and was in a French mood the other night, so looked up this recipe and whipped up one of these puppies using sourdough bread and old-fashioned ham. Dennis is right, cave-aged makes a big difference. I’m curious to try it with Comté now that I know it’s basically the same cheese.

    I had mine with an endive, toasted walnut, red pear and Fourme d’Ambert salad which took the whole meal into over-the-top French cheesy territory. I would recommend pairing this sandwich with something a bit lighter, maybe a tomato soup or salad, which would be fresher as a complement. Bon appétit!

  • amtct

    I had never heard of Croque Monsieur until I watch “It’s Complicated”. The sandwiches looked so good and simple. I searched high and low for an authentic recipe and am very happy to have found this, along with all of the wonderful reviews. I might make some of the suggested changes, especially the rosemary ham. I’m a sucker for rosemary. I’ll be sure to report back on how my partner liked it. He loves anything cheesy, so I am sure he will like this as well!

  • Karen

    Elise, I am seeing this movie for the 1st time tonight via netflix and I had to pause it to come google the recipe! Yours was the first link on the list and I even misspelled ‘Croque Monsieur’! It looks delicious. Thank you for posting it, seeing it here means I can run with the recipe and have confidence that it will taste as good as it looks.

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