A classic croque monsieur is a dish many people are intimidated to make, but it couldn’t be simpler. It’s basically an elevated grilled cheese — and who doesn’t love a grilled cheese?! Plus, these mini versions are perfect for entertaining.
Technique tip: When making the béchamel, keep whisking when you add in the milk and allow the sauce to bubble up a few times.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
For the sandwiches
- 1 baguette, cut into 8 slices
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 slices smoked ham
- 8 slices gruyere cheese, plus more for grating on top of the sandwiches
- 1 cup béchamel sauce (recipe above)
- Aleppo pepper to garnish
- Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
For the béchamel sauce:
In a pot, melt the butter and then add in the all-purpose flower and whisk on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add in the milk and stir constantly until it thickens. Grate in the nutmeg and season well with salt and pepper. Whisk until it bubbles a couple of times and then turn off the heat. Sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese.
For the sandwiches:
1. For each sandwich, butter one side of each piece bread really well. Flip over and, on the buttered side of one piece of bread (per sandwich), layer on the sliced ham and gruyere cheese.
2. Spread béchamel sauce on the other side of the bread and then press the sandwiches together.
3. Warm a large, oven-safe pan over medium-low and add in a tablespoon of unsalted butter. Place a sandwich in and press down with a weight, keeping the heat on medium low. Let it toast for about 2 minutes, until the bread becomes golden brown. Flip it over and press again on the other side. When the bread is toasted on both sides, and all the sandwiches are cooked, remove the pan from the heat.
4. Place 3 tablespoons of béchamel on top of each sandwich and place them in the oven. Let them broil for 3-5 minutes, until the sauce becomes a rich golden-brown color.
5. Take out the melted croque monsieur sandwiches. Sprinkle each with a little Aleppo pepper and fresh parsley and serve while still warm.