There are many dishes to whip up with that left-over Christmas Ham, most of you already have a stock standard recipe that you prepare on a yearly basis like soup, pasta and quiche to name some but have you tried making Croque Madame or Croque Monsieur?
Croque Madame or Croque Monsieur is the French version of the ham and cheese sandwich, literally translated as “mistress crunch” and “mister crunch” respectively, and the name is based on the verb croquer (“to bite, to crunch”). So what’s the difference of this French sandwich to the normal ham and cheese sammie? Basic ingredients are similar but the process and preparation is very different, both sandwiches start with putting boiled ham between slices of brioche-like pain de mie which is then topped with grated cheese and/or bechamel sauce, it is then slightly salted and peppered. After which it is baked in an oven or pan fried to have a brown crispy outer layer, plus the heat melts the cheese. Pain de mie is the traditional bread that is used but can be substituted with sour dough, loaf bread, ciabatta or any bread of your preference.
Now what it the difference between Croque Madame or Croque Monsieur? The difference lies with the eggs, with Croque Monsieur, the egg goes in the bread like how French Toast are made with Croque Madame the eggs goes on top where it can be poached or sunny side up.
Today we are making the Croque Madame, a very good recipe to use that left-over Christmas ham, I know this breakfast is not light specially for those who had a really big noche buena but you can have it for brunch, nothing will be good like a greasy food after a booze filled night.
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2½ tbsp plain flour
- 400ml milk
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- Melt butter in a pot then stir in flour.
- Continue stirring while gradually pouring milk.
- Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
- Continue stirring until sauce becomes smooth and thick
- Arrange 4 slices of the bread on a flat surface, place two slices of ham on top, spread a small amount of bechamel on top of the ham then top it with another slice of bread.
- Heat a cast iron skillet, grease it some melted butter then add the sandwich, browning one side. Turn on the other side then continue to brown this side.
- Transfer sandwiches in a baking sheet then pour the bechamel sauce on top of the sandwiches, finally top it with the Gruyere cheese. Place it in an oven on a grill or broil setting, then broil until top is golden brown.
- Remove from oven, place it on serving platters then top with poached eggs, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then serve.