This Croque-Madame recipe is a take on the classic French ham and cheese sandwich (croque-monsieur), topped with ooey gooey cheese sauce and a poached or fried egg. The perfect sandwich for any time of the day!
Easy leftover ham recipe
There's always leftover baked ham in my refrigerator after any given holiday. I've got ½ of a spiral ham leftover from Easter dinner this past weekend and I've been making Croque-Madame sandwiches every day. I love a good french sandwich that's a romanticized, sophisticated version of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.
A good friend of mine told me about how a person can get arrested for eating a sandwich in Thailand. Can you imagine? Eating a sandwich in public gets you arrested? Well, I did some research on it and, apparently this all went down when Thailand went under military rule last Spring.
In choosing the right "sammie" for this post, I thought "what sandwich would I be okay with getting arrested for eating?" I mean, you can't make any old sandwich and then get thrown in jail. Where's the respectability in that? It's got to be a really great one, something special.
What is a Croque-Madame?
The Croque-Madame is a Croque-Monsieur with an egg on top. The Croque-Monsieur originated in the early 1900s and was served as a quick snack in the cafés of Paris, France. It's basically a baked ham and cheese sandwich topped with a Béchamel sauce and more cheese.
As with any good sandwich, it's essential to use a really fresh bread. Make your own or get a loaf at your favorite bakery. Gruyère or Emmental (or a mixture of the two) are the best cheeses for this sandwich. This is the classic French recipe that I've made a couple of changes to:
- Adding the cheese to the Béchamel to make it a Mornay sauce
- Frying the sandwich in butter. Extra butter=extra yum!
Try this Croque-Madame recipe for breakfast or brunch or even dinner. Enjoy and please let me know in comments how you liked it!
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened and divided
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup Gruyère cheese, shredded and divided
- 1 ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- 4 slices good quality bread
- 2-4 slices good quality cooked ham
- 2 fresh eggs
For the Mornay sauce:
- Start making a roux by melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly for another 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking occasionally, until mixture thickens.
- Stir ½ cup of the cheese and the Dijon mustard into the sauce. Season to taste with the salt, pepper. Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside.
Assemble the sandwiches:
- Spread 1-2 tablespoons of the Mornay sauce on one side of each piece of bread, layer with the ham and remaining cheese and place together to form the sandwich.
- Spread remaining butter on the outside of the bread slices and place buttered side down in a skillet over medium-low heat. Cook until both sides are golden brown and cheese is melted inside.
- Transfer sandwiches to a baking sheet. Set skillet aside to cook the eggs later.
- Preheat the oven broiler. Divide the remaining Mornay sauce over the top of each sandwich and broil until the tops are browned and bubbling.
- While the sandwiches are broiling, lightly fry the eggs sunny-side up over medium heat in the skillet. Remove the sandwiches from the broiler and top each one with an egg.
- Serve with a garden salad for a complete meal!