I really love gravy and sauces. I'm not a big fan of condiments, but give me a creamy, thickened sauce and I think I'm in heaven. I'm one of the few people I know that absolutely worships the ground that creamed dried beef walks on. When I was a kid, my mom would make it for the family for breakfast and I would lick the plate clean. Literally! Now as an adult, I try to conform to social norms, but deep down inside, I still want to lick that plate. The same urge hits me when I eat pot roast with gravy or open faced roast beef sandwiches. Now I can add croque madame to the list.
This is a great sandwich. It's not light, that's for sure. It's one of those sandwiches that can get you through the day. It's basically a ham and egg sandwich covered with a creamy cheese sauce. While I'm not a hundred percent sure of the origin of the name, the French verb croquer means "to munch", so I suppose it's appropriate. The only difference between the madame and monsieur version is that croque madame has a fried egg on it.
Croque Madame (ou Monsieur)
Yield: 2 big sandwiches
2 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
2 cups very warm milk
dash salt, pepper, and nutmeg
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 slices toasted bread
2 fried eggs
4 thin slices of ham
1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
In a small, heavy bottomed sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. With a whisk, add flour and stir to mix completely. Add very warm milk slowly, stirring continuously. Stir until sauce begins to thicken and then turn off heat. Stir in cheese and seasonings. Set aside until ready to assemble sandwich.
Turn broiler on and adjust oven so that the rack is on second highest level. Place bread in toaster. Fry the eggs in a skillet. Remove toast and put one slice on each oven-safe plate. Add one fried egg to each sandwich. Before turning skillet off, warm up ham in the skillet and then place on top of the egg. Put remaining slice of toast on top. Pour cheese sauce over sandwiches. Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.
Place under the broiler until bubbly and brown, about 4-5 minutes. Serve hot.
NOTES: Any type of Swiss cheese works in this recipe, but my favorite is Gruyere. Also, to have a nice, creamy sauce, 2% or whole milk is best.