The croque-monsieur is a French sandwich dish that we eat in bistro, café or traditional French restaurants, with most of the time some French fries or salad. The croque-monsieur is very popular In France. In the US, it’s the toasted ham and cheese. It’s an easy recipe that could be served as a mean dish with its side or even when sliced as an appetizer.
But do you know its history and how to cook it well?
Here is a look back at the origins and appearance of this dish, as well as the traditional recipe.
Appearance and origin of the croque-monsieur, the French sandwich
The appearance of the croque-monsieur would go back to 1910 when the owner of a café, Michel Lunarca, would have served in a sandwich of soft bread instead of the traditional baguette missing in stock.
Its name would come from the fact that the gentlemen of the district, pressed by time, wanted to crunch a quick snack. Indeed, Croque-Monsieur means crunch and mister
Today the croque-monsieur comes in several recipes with different cheeses and béchamel sauce. The croque-madame is also served in restaurants and brasseries with a fried egg on top of the sandwich.
Croque-Monsieur, the French sandwich ingredients
8 LARGE SLICES OF SOFT BREAD, SANDWICH BREAD
4 THIN SLICES OF WHITE HAM ON THE BONE
200 G COMTÉ CHEESE or GRUYÈRE (6 OR 12 MONTHS)
4TBS -60 G OF BUTTER
2TBS OF MUSTARD
FOR THE BÉCHAMEL :
2TBS -30 G OF BUTTER
1/4 CUP – 30 G OF FLOUR
1 and 1/4 CUP- 30CL OF MILK
A pinch of nutmeg
Croque-Monsieur, the French sandwich preparation
Preheat your oven : 420°F – 220°C
First, take 8 slices of soft bread and butter them on one side only. On the other slide, add the mustard. When I was young I didn’t like the mustard: it was too spicy for me, so instead of the mustard my mother added concentrated tomato.
Then place a slice of cheese on each slice of sandwich bread: on the mustard side.
Then place a slice of ham on 4 slices of sandwich bread.
Prepare the béchamel:
In a small saucepan, melt the butter, add the flour and stir for 30 seconds over low heat.
Add the milk, a little at a time, and continue to cook the béchamel until it thickens.
Remove from heat and add pepper with a little of nutmeg, or if you want to make your croque-monsieur fancy, you could use truffle salt insead of the nutmeg. Let cool.
Grate 30 g of Comté cheese. Mix the béchamel with the grated Comté. Add a little salt and pepper.
Spread half of the béchamel sauce on four slices of bread on the buttered side, then cover two slices with thin layers of ham, add half of the slices of comté cheese, and finish with two slices of bread with the béchamel sauce.
Cover with slices of grated Comté cheese and put in the oven, halfway up, for about 10 minutes. Turn on the grill for 2 more minutes.
Serve hot, ideally with a green salad.
How did croque madame get its name?
When topped with a lightly fried egg, the sandwich is called a croque madame, so named because the egg is said to resemble a woman’s hat. That particular sandwich name dates to about the year 1960.
What Is A Monte Cristo Sandwich?
“Monte Cristo” is a tribute to the French novel The Count of Monte Christo by Alexander Dumas. As such, the sandwich’s name suggests its French origins. Food historians generally think that the Monte Cristo sandwich is a variation of a French Croque Monsieur.
How to eat your croque-monsieur,
In France it’s served most of the time with a salad, but quite a simple one as the star of this dish is the croque-monsieur and not the salad itself.