2/21/12

Croque Monsieur and It's Complicated

Have you seen the movie It's Complicated?  Recently, a friend pointed out the sandwich Jane (Meryl Streep) makes for Adam (Steve Martin).  The sandwich combines Black Forest ham and Gruyere cheese (pronounced groo-year) on toasty bread.   I know what you're thinking...it sounds like grilled cheese.  Well, it is, but it is so incredibly delicious.  It's called Croque-Monsieur, which loosely translates to "crunchy mister."  If you add a fried egg to the sandwich, it would be called Croque-Madame.

This is a great weeknight meal, and it sounds kind of impressive.  If you don't use all of the sauce, it's easy to store and use again later.  If you google it, you can find lots of variations.  I've tried a couple different versions, and my favorite is found here.  I also like it with a little mustard on the side.

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Croque-Monsieur   
Ingredients: 
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
pinch of nutmeg
1 bay leaf (The spices are important, so don't leave them out.)

4 slices firm white sandwich bread (I used Chicago Italian from the Publix bakery.)
4 ounces thinly sliced Black Forest ham (This was about 6 slices for me, but I only used 2 slices for each sandwich.)
6 ounces Gruyere cheese (I bought a 6 ounce block at the deli. I sliced part of it for the inside of the sandwich and grated the rest for the topping.  See below for additional instructions.)
1 tablespoon melted butter (This is just to spread on the bread.  I used Smart Balance tub butter.)

Directions:
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Add nutmeg and bay leaf. Increase heat to medium-high and boil until sauce thickens, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

Preheat broiler. Place 2 bread slices on work surface. Top each with ham and sliced Gruyère. Top with remaining bread. Heat heavy large skillet over low heat. Brush sandwiches with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Add to skillet and cook until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to small baking sheet. Spoon sauce, then grated cheese over sandwiches. Broil until cheese begins to brown, about 2 minutes.
 
Source:  Epicurious

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