Serves: 4 • Time: 20 minutes
The Croque Madame, and its many variations, makes for a popular and quick snack. Originating somewhere around the early 1900s, it incorporates one of the five mother sauces of French cooking: béchamel. This recipe has a slight twist on the classic.
- Domaine des Vignes mustard
- 8 slices of thick brioche
- ½ lb. sliced ham
- 2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- Shallot and Herb Béchamel Sauce (recipe below)
- 4 eggs
1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Spread mustard onto one side of each slice of bread, then distribute the ham and 1½ cups cheese onto half of the slices. Sandwich the halves closed with the remaining bread.
3. In a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil with the butter. Add the sandwiches and heat until browned and golden, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip and cook the other side 3 minutes more.
4. Transfer the sandwiches to the prepared baking sheet. Pour the béchamel sauce over the sandwiches and top with the remaining cheese. Broil until the cheese bubbles and becomes golden, about 3 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a clean skillet over moderate heat. Crack the eggs into the skillet and cook until the whites set, about 4 minutes. To serve, transfer the sandwiches from the broiler to 4 serving plates and top each one with a fried egg.
Shallot and Herb Béchamel Sauce
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 5 Tbsp. butter
- 4 Tbsp. flour
- 1 shallot, minced
- Salt and pepper
1. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the milk, thyme, and rosemary to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes to allow the herb flavor to infuse into the milk.
2. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly brown, about 4 minutes (this is called a roux in French). Whisk in the shallots and cook 2 minutes more.
3. Carefully remove the herbs from the milk. In a slow, steady stream, whisk the hot milk into the roux. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook until the béchamel thickens, about 5 minutes.