Over the next few days, I’m going to write about a French meal that I made.
Hopefully these articles will inspire you to make these dishes yourself!
Croque Monsieur is a classic and delicious French dish, similar to grilled cheese.
The name Croque Monsieur literally translates to Mr. Crunch! It is made with a
thick butter sauce, ham, and gourmet Gruyere cheese, making the most complex
and delicious variation of grilled cheese I have ever eaten.
The first component of Croque Monsieur, the thick butter sauce, was a new concept
for me. It is made by mixing melted butter and flour over heat. This mixture, with the
consistency of dough, is called a roux. Then milk is slowly added. The result is a
surprisingly thick and rich mixture, Bechamel, that adds creaminess to the dish.
After the it is cooked, an ingredient is added that surprised me quite a bit- nutmeg.
After the Bechamel is completed, the sandwiches are assembled. I layered bread,
butter sauce, Gruyere cheese, and ham, adding more cheese and Bechamel on
the top of the sandwiches. Then they are baked until the cheese is browned and
the edges are crisped. (Hence the name, Mr. Crunch).
These sandwiches are so delicious, I don’t think I will ever be able to go back to
grilled cheese. The melted Gruyere is subtly nutty and a bit acidic, and the roux
adds warmer flavors and a gooey texture. The ham brings substance, and ties all the
other components together. It was very delicious, definitely a “make-again”, as my
Mom would say.