Recipe of the Month: Croque Monsieur

Béchamel Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups milk
Freshly ground pepper
A pinch of ground or freshly grated nutmeg

Make about 1 cup

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, this is known as a roux. Some recipes call for a brown roux, this does not. Do not let the roux brown. Cook only a minute or two. Add the milk, whisking as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a low simmer approaching a boil. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Cook a few minutes more, stirring constantly. Use immediately.

Thinly sliced Ham/Jambon
Emmentaler or Gruyere Cheese, grated (about 1/2-3/4 cup per sandwich)*
Slices of white sandwich bread (The better the bread, the better the Croque Monsieur )

Prepare the béchamel sauce. Turn on the broiler of your oven. With two slices of bread per sandwich, generously spread the sauce (as if buttering) the bread. Top one side with ham, the other with grated cheese. Place the sandwich under the broiler to heat and melt the cheese. Remove from the oven, and place halves together. Generously top with more béchamel and grated cheese. Place under the broiler again, watching carefully to avoid burning. Heat until the sandwich is bubbly and toasty. Serve immediately. A Croque Madame is created by adding a fried egg to the top of the Croque Monsieur.

*Emmentaler is a yellow, medium hard cheese that originated in the area around the Emmental, in the canton of Bern in Switzerland. The best substitute for Emmentaler is Gruyere. Unlike Gruyere, Emmental has larger holes.

Janice Thomas
Savory Spoon Cooking School

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