How to Make the Best Croque Madame Sandwich You’ve Ever Had
The Croque Madame sandwich is the ultimate in comfort food perfection. A croque monsieur is basically a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, in France. Translated, it means a ‘crunchy-mister’. When it is topped with an egg, it becomes a ‘croque-madame’.
There are five things that I think are essential to a good Croque Madame:
- A good ratio of bread to filling.
- Melty goo.
- A runny egg
- A delicately crispy crunch that quickly gives way to tenderness. No thick, impenetrable rustic crusts.
A good croque madame is both crisp and tender. The secret to its crispness is in the toasting in butter, this gives it double the crispness, which is incredibly important for a sandwich with such moist fillings—otherwise, the inside surface of the bread gets mushy.
The last consideration is the goo factor. The melted cheese, of course, provides a lot of it, but I like to take it one step further and add bechamel sauce. A bit of Dijon mustard adds just enough vinegary punch to balance all that richness. My son asks for this gooey, cheesy, comforting goodness of a sandwich whenever he’s had a particularly long day at school because it really never fails to make you feel better. A hug in grilled cheese sandwich form!
- 170g Butter
- 2 tbsp Flour
- 240ml whole milk
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 3 tbsp of Dijon mustard
- 20g Grated parmesan
- 8 Slices of thick bread
- 12 Slices of ham
- 340g Grated Cheese
In a small saucepan, melt 30g butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes, until you smell the flour and butter cooking.
Add the milk and bay leaf and cook, stirring from time to time, until the mixture thickens like a soup, this should take about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the Parmesan. Pour in to a bowl to cool.
Arrange 4 slices of the bread on a flat surface and spread each slice with a layer of Dijon mustard. Top each with 2 to 3 slices of ham. Mix together half of the cheese with the bechamel sauce and season. Spread some of the cheesy sauce on top of the ham and top each with another slice of bread.
Heat a large frying pan and add half of the remaining butter. Add 2 of the sandwiches and heat for 2 minutes, browning on one side. Turn the sandwiches over and cook for a further 2 minutes. Repeat the process for the next two sandwiches. Spread the remaining bechamel sauce on top of the sandwiches and top with the other half of grated cheese.
Crack 2 eggs into the frying pan and cook until yolk is still runny. Season the eggs and place on top of each sandwich. Repeat the process for the other two eggs and sandwiches. Serve immediately.