Croque Monsieur (Toasted Ham & Cheese Sandwich)
Yield: 4 sandwiches
This is my version of the toasted cheese and ham sandwich from France, and just thinking about it and imagining atmospheric, crowded pavement cafés makes me long to be in Paris and eat it there. But, that not being possible, it's one of the easiest and nicest snack meals for one that I know. A croque-monsieur is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. It originated in French cafés and bars as a quick snack. Typically, Gruyère cheese is used. The name is based on the verb croquer ("to crunch") and the word monsieur ("mister"). The sandwich's first recorded appearance on a Parisian café menu was in 1910. A croque-monsieur served with a fried egg or poached egg on top is known as a croque-madame. What I have done with this recipe is to try and make it as local to our region as possible by using local ingredients mainly from 7th Street Public Market.
8 slices Artisan bread from Kings Kitchen Bakery or Pullman bread
2 oz Dijon mustard (optional)
3-4 oz Appalachian cheese or gruyere cheese (8 thin slices)
4-6 oz American Heritage dry cured ham or boiled ham (4 slices)
1 oz soft butter
2 oz Grated Calvander cheese or Parmesan cheese
Method of Production
1. To assemble the sandwiches for frying, spread one side of the bread slices with mustard if using.
2. On 4 of the bread slices, layer on a slice, each of sliced cheese and ham.
3. Top the sandwiches with the remaining bread slices.
4. Brush the top of the sandwiches with the melted butter, sprinkle with the grated cheese. Place buttered side down into a hot frying pan, cook until golden brown.
5. Just before turning over, brush with the remaining melted butter, sprinkle with cheese and cook again until golden brown and the cheese inside has melted.
6. Remove from the pan and cut the sandwiches on the diagonal and serve immediately.