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Croque-Madame Sandwiches

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Serves 4

  • To learn more, read:
    Cook Once/Eat Twice: Fresh Ham
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 108

In this riff on the classic French croque-madame (a toasted ham and cheese sandwich topped with béchamel and a fried egg), roasted fresh ham replaces the typical cured ham. If you don't have any leftover fresh ham from Sunday dinner, substitute store-bought sliced roast pork loin or sliced cured ham.

  • 5 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2-1/2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1-3/4 cup milk (whole or low-fat)
  • 2 Tbs. brandy
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 slices country-style white sandwich bread
  • 4 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 4 oz. Gruyère, grated (1 cup)
  • 12 oz. leftover roasted fresh ham, sliced (or substitute sliced roast pork loin or sliced cured ham)
  • 1/2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (1/2 cup using a rasp-style grater)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

Melt 2 Tbs. of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and continue whisking just until it turns beige, about 20 seconds. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream; continue whisking until smooth, thickened, and slightly bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the brandy, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Whisk for 30 seconds; then remove from the heat and set aside, whisking occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.

Position a rack 4 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler on high.

Spread four of the bread slices on one side with 1 tsp. Dijon mustard each. Layer the Gruyère and ham on the bread in this pattern: cheese, ham, cheese. Top with the remaining bread.

Melt 1 Tbs. of the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook 2 of the sandwiches until brown and crisp, turning once halfway through the cooking, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with another tablespoon of butter and the remaining 2 sandwiches.

Ladle the béchamel sauce over the sandwiches (it will run down the sides), and then top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Broil until bubbling and lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a 10-inch nonstick skillet, melt the remaining 1 Tbs. butter over medium heat. Crack the eggs into the skillet and fry them sunny side up until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, 3 to 4 minutes.

Use a large, flat spatula to transfer the sandwiches to serving plates. Place a fried egg on each. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with Basic Roasted Broccoli with Caramelized Shallot Butter.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 840; Fat (g): fat g 45; Fat Calories (kcal): 400; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 21; Protein (g): protein g 49; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 15; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 52; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1040; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 365; Fiber (g): fiber g 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Great recipe. The Dijon mustard adds a nice zing. I used whole grain/seven grain bread and was great. Thanks for the recipe

I've been very disappointed with most of the croque madame/monsieur sandwiches that I've tried here in the U.S. Many places just treat them like a grilled ham and cheese (this recipe's an example: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/croque-madame-recipe/index.html) and don't remind me at all of the ones I've eaten in France. But, this FC recipe tastes like the real deal—the secret must be the béchamel.

This sandwich has an outstanding combination of flavors. The bechamel is excellent. Read my full review at: http://themomchef.blogspot.com/2010/12/croque-madame-sandwiches-from-fine.html

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