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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Croque Monsieur - Baked Open-Faced French Ham and Cheese

 Croque monsieur is another one of those things that I'm always hearing about on TV but have never actually tried before.  It's a traditional oven baked French sandwich that is open faced with a basic white bread and layers of bechamel, cheese, and ham.

This weekend I finally decided to try my hand at making this dish for breakfast since I had two of my closest friends over.  I also made the traditional pain de mie to make the bread with.  I used this French recipe

1. Melt butter over medium low heat.  Add in minced garlic and sautee gently for 30 seconds - 1 min, or until you start to smell a light garlic scent.

2. Add in flour and stir with a whisk until homogeneous.

3. Add in the milk and seasoning and stir with whisk.

4. Raise heat to medium and stir constantly until bechamel is thickened like a gravy. (about 7 mins or so).

Bechamel Sauce - From Michel Roux's Pastry
1 TB butter
1/4 cup of flour
1 cup of milk

Sandwich Ingredients:
6 slices of bread
12 slices of quality deli ham
2/3 cup white cheese (mozzarella, provolone, or the traditional Gruyere)
1 clove of garlic, minced
a pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Sandwich Procedure:
1. Spread each slice of bread with an even layer of bechamel sauce
2. sprinkle an even layer of cheese over the bechamel
3. put a slice of ham on the bread (if it hangs over the side, trim it because otherwise it will dry out during cooking)
4. Cover the ham with an even layer of bechamel and sprinkle another even layer of cheese.

5. Allow to bake until the cheese is fully melted and the bread has a chance to toast.

6. Switch the oven to broil and broil for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese is is speckled with golden brown.

7. Remove from the oven, serve and enjoy :).

This sandwich is traditionally made with pan de mie, a basic French sandwich bread, but regular white bread will do.

Some people also do this sandwich using two slices of bread, with the final slice covered with a layer of bechamel and cheese



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