Offering a French Delight – The Croque Madame
If you are hosting overnight guests for the holidays and you want to add a cosmopolitan touch to breakfast, serve each of them a croque madame. If they’ve never eaten one before, then they are in for a treat.
It’s really quite simple to make. It’s a half sandwich where a slice of bread is covered with a high-quality wet-cured ham. Ladle some béchamel sauce on top of the ham, and cover everything with a layer of coarsely-grated Gruyere cheese. And then add the pièce de résistance – an egg with a soft yolk is placed on top.
And voila! Iconic French cuisine prepared by you in your kitchen much to the delight of your guests. C’est magnifique.
Your Guests Can Have Their Choice Of Gender
There’s also a croque monsieur. If anyone would like a croque monsieur, first prepare the croque madame. The transition is made by simply removing the egg from the top, and there you have it.
See? Changing gender is much simpler than you thought it might be.
For the recipe click on Croque Madam and scroll down through the narrative. Serve French roast coffee with a French press for a nice touch.
The Croque Madame
1 PinchCayenne pepper
4 SlicesLoaf white bread (1/2 inch thick)
12 oz.High quality wet-cured ham
12 oz.Gruyere cheese (coarsely grated)
Ahead of time very lightly toast one side of bread.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Time: 20 Minutes
Heat milk and salt to the boil in a small saucepan.
In copper 2 qt. saucepan melt the butter over low heat.
Blend in the flour , and cook slowly, stirring with wooden spoon until the butter and flour froth together for 2 minutes without coloring (white roux).
Remove roux from heat. When it stops bubbling, pour in all of the hot milk and whisk until blended.
Set back on heat (now moderate-high) and whisk with wire whip until sauce boils, and then continue for 1 minute.
Add cayenne pepper. Salt and pepper to taste.
Spread each slice of bread with béchamel sauce evenly almost to the edges on untoasted side.
Divide ham among the four slices of bread and pile on top.
Drizzle more béchamel sauce on top of ham.
Pile the grated cheese on top of this.
Transfer slices to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. START GRIDDLE FOR EGGS.
Bake until cheese topping is melted and golden brown (10-15 minutes).
Begin eggs (preferably sunny-side up just before the slices come out of the oven).
Place 1 or 2 eggs on top of each slice.
Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Serve with a side of fruit.
French roast coffee made with a French press is a nice touch.