Saturday’s Breakfast

Croque-Madame

The mouth watering website The Meaning of Pie puts together a nice how-to on creating this delicious beast.

Servings: 4 sandwiches
8 slices of good quality white bread
4 teaspoons (approximately) Dijon mustard
½ pound smoked ham, thinly sliced (approximately…use the amount that looks right)
¾ cup shredded white aged Cheddar cheese (or Gruyere or Swiss)
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter (divided use)
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups milk
Dash of salt and pepper
4 large eggs

To Make the Sauce:

Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter in a saucepan.  Add 3 Tablespoons of flour and mix it in thoroughly with a whisk. Continue to whisk and cook the roux for 3 minutes. Add the milk, whisking constantly and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking periodically. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add ½ cup (or more) of shredded aged white cheddar cheese. Add salt and pepper and stir until the cheese is melted and combined. Set aside. This sauce will get a “skin” if left unattended. I didn’t care because I just scooped some up and broiled it anyway. But if you are going for sauce perfection, you can lay a piece of wax paper directly on the surface of the sauce.

For the Sandwiches:

For each sandwich, apply about a teaspoon of mustard on one side of the bread. Pile the ham on top of the mustard. On the other piece of bread, spoon about 1 to 2 Tablespoon of the cheese sauce and spread it evenly. Add about 1 Tablespoon of shredded aged white cheddar cheese on top of the sauce and close the sandwich. Repeat for each of the sandwiches.

Preheat the broiler.

Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter on a non stick griddle pan. Place the sandwiches and cook them until the bottom side is golden brown, and then carefully turn them over and cook them on the other side, as well. Remove the sandwiches to a shallow baking dish. Spoon about ⅓ cup of the sauce on each of the sandwiches. It is fine if it goes over the sides a little. Place the dish under the broiler for approximately 2 minutes, or until the sauce is browned and bubbly. Watch this step closely because it goes from perfect to ruined in about 10 seconds. Turn off the broiler and let the baking dish stay warm by leaving it on a rack in the bottom of the oven. Should you burn the tops (as I did the first time) you can gently scoop off the burnt bit and broil them again for a mere moment.

Meanwhile, clean the griddle pan with a paper towel and melt the remaining 1 Tablespoon of butter. Fry 4 eggs until the whites are cooked and the egg is just sunny side up perfection. Remove the baking dish from the oven and place one sandwich on each plate using a spatula. Then carefully place one egg on top of each sandwich, taking care not to break the yolk. Eat immediately.

For more, visit The Meaning of Pie

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