Here is the French croque monsieur recipe (one of my favorite French recipes). This delicious French sandwich -casually referred to as a croque – is super popular and can be found on almost every restaurant menu in Paris. In France, this traditional French sandwich is served as a main and is usually accompanied by a green salad and cornichons (French dill pickles). It’s the perfect recipe to repurpose leftover ham into the ultimate cheesy sandwich!
What Is A Croque Monsieur?
A croque monsieur is a delicious French sandwich made with cheese (gruyere, comté, or cantal), ham (jambon de Paris), and a simple béchamel sauce, toasted in the oven. The name of this sandwich is based on the verb croquer (“to crunch”) and the word monsieur (“mister”). The croque monsieur originated in French cafés and bars as a quick snack. The sandwich’s first recorded appearance on a Paris café menu was in 1910. And its earliest mention in literature appears to be in volume two of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (A la Recherche du Temps Perdu) in 1918.
What Do You Drink With Croque Monsieur?
A croque monsieur pairs perfectly with a glass of French wine. If you prefer red wines, opt for “dry”/ “young” red wines like a Anjou gamay, Touraine, Val de Loire rouge, Bordeaux or Urfé. On the other hand, if you prefer white wines, opt for a Vin de Savoie Ripaille, Arbois, Côtes du Jura, Roussette de Savoie or a Roussette du Bugey Montagnieu.
What Is The Difference Between a Croque Monsieur And a Croque Madame?
A croque madame is a croque monsieur served with a poached or lightly fried egg on top. To make a croque monsieur into a croque madame sandwich, just make the recipe as instructed below, then fry eggs (one for each sandwich, sunny-side up) in a separate skillet while the sandwiches toast in the oven. And just place an egg on top of each sandwich. The egg turns the croque into a more substantial meal and the runny yolk provides a rich sauce for the sandwich. Delicieux!
Why Is The Sandwich Called Monte Cristo?
A Monte Cristo sandwich is a variation of the French croque monsieur. It’s basically a ham and cheese sandwich that is dipped in egg batter and fried in butter. In the 1930s–1960s, American cookbooks had recipes for this sandwich under such names as “French sandwich”, “toasted ham sandwich”, and “French toasted cheese sandwich”.
How To Make The Traditional French Croque Monsieur
Before diving into the recipe, here are some of my French cooking tips:
- Cheese: Opt for fresh and good quality cheese and prefer either emmental, gruyere, comté, or cantal cheese. These are flavorful yet not too strong cheeses that are essential to creating an authentic tasting croque monsieur.
- Béchamel: The béchamel can be made one day in advance to cut down on prep. Make it as instructed, allow it to cool. Place plastic wrap directly onto the surface and chill.
- Ham: in this recipe, it’s best to use the authentic Jambon de Paris or “Paris Ham” that is available in every grocery store and butcher shop in France. Or you can use an organic uncured slow-cooked ham.
- Bread: it’s best to use a classic pain de mie or Pullman loaf in this recipe. But you can also use white country-style bread.
Shop The Ingredients
Traditional Parisian Croque Monsieur Recipe
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Gradually add milk, stirring well until the mixture is smooth. Cook, stirring, until sauce is thickened. Season with a little bit of salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Set aside while you make the sandwiches, or make the sauce up to 1 week in advance.
- Generously spread the bread slices with the soft butter on one side (outside). And spread the other side of béchamel (inside side).
- Cut the ham to the size of the bread slices, and finely chop the mushrooms.
- Arrange on four slices of bread (bechamel side) a slice of Emmental, mushroom slices, ham, and finish with a slice of Emmental. Cover everything with the other slices of white bread (béchamel below).
- Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes in an oven preheated to 200°C / 392°F.
I hope you’ll love this French ham and cheese sandwich recipe! Let me know in the comments below.
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