Super-Luxe Croque Monsieur (French-style grilled cheese)
Croque Monsieur
Grace Parisi / TODAY
print recipe
Rating:
-1 (0 rated)
Cook time:
Prep time:
Servings:
4

Croque Monsieur is France's super-luxe answer to America's much beloved sandwich–grilled cheese. Even in its simplest form of cheese, bread, ham and a simple béchamel (white sauce), the result is so much more than the sum of its parts. And like its American counterpart, the variations are endless. In addition to, or in place of, the ham, add sautéed mushrooms, wilted greens, crumbled chorizo or even kimchee. For cheese, try imported Fontina, Manchego, Comté or Emmental Swiss. And season with truffle salt, herbes de Provence, fresh tarragon or horseradish and see how interesting things get! A great thing about this dish is that it can be assembled early in the day, or even the night before (and refrigerated), then baked as guests arrive.

Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 clove garlic, lightly smashed
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1¼ cups whole milk
    • 1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
    • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
    • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
    • 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 8 slices sourdough or rustic country bread
    • 8 slices good quality ham
    • 1½ cups coarsely shredded Gruyère

Preparation

Croque Monsieur: Make the béchamel sauce Grace Parisi / TODAY

1. Preheat the oven to 425° and line a baking sheet with parchment. Make the Béchamel Sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until golden, about 3 minutes. Discard the garlic and whisk in the flour. Cook over moderate heat until nutty and golden, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cook, stirring, until very thick and bubbling, about 5 minutes. It should be as thick as pudding.

Croque Monsieur: Transfer the béchamel sauce to a bowl and stir in the mustard and herbs Grace Parisi / TODAY

2. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the mustard and herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Croque Monsieur: Spread the béchamel onto each slice of bread, add the ham on 4 slices and sprinkle with half of the cheese Grace Parisi / TODAY

3. Spread the béchamel onto each slice of bread, being sure to cover it completely. Place the ham on 4 slices and sprinkle with half of the cheese.

Croque Monsieur: Place the remaining bread on top with the béchamel side out and sprinkle with the remaining cheese Grace Parisi / TODAY

4. Place the remaining bread on top with the béchamel side out and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Croque Monsieur: Bake until the tops are golden and bubbling and the bottoms are toasted Grace Parisi / TODAY

5. Bake in the center of the oven until the tops are golden and bubbling and the bottoms are toasted, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve right away.

Grace Parisi is a New York City-based food writer, cookbook author and food stylist. Her book, Get Saucy, was nominated for a James Beard award. Her latest book, Quick Pickles comes out in Spring 2016. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.