Croque-Monsieur or -Madame
Bar Boulud, New York City, Olivier Quignon / July 18th, 2013
- 3 Tbsps. unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- nutmeg, freshly grated
- white pepper, freshly ground
Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat; whisk in the flour until blended but not colored; gradually whisk in the milk; cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes; season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper; set aside.
Note: May be made up to 24 hours ahead of time and stored, refrigerated, with a layer of plastic wrap placed directly on surface of sauce; gently reheat before serving.
- 2 Tbsps. unsalted butter, melted
- 8 slices high-quality Pullman loaf bread, sliced 1/3- to 1/2-“ thick, very lightly toasted (no color)
- 12 oz. thickly sliced jambon de Paris (high-quality wet-cured ham)
- 10 oz. Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated
- 4 whole eggs (for the madame)
Preheat oven to 400˚F; line a sheet pan with parchment paper and brush with melted butter; on a work surface, place bread slices in a single layer and spread each one evenly to the edges with béchamel (all the béchamel may not be needed); divide ham among four of the slices, trimming it if necessary so it is within 1/4” of edges; top all eight slices with equal amounts of cheese, spreading it evenly to within 1/4 inch of edges; place four bread slices with béchamel and cheese, cheese side up, on top of slices layered with ham.
Transfer sandwiches, cheese side up, onto sheet pan; bake until grated cheese topping is melted and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
Note: To make a croque-madame, fry eggs sunny-side up and place one on top of each finished sandwich. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; serve immediately.