Croque madame

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This croque madame recipe is a classic sandwich, a true cheese-fest for the discerning toastie lover. Many love the eggless version of this dish – the croque monsieur – but what dishes can't be improved with a fried egg on top?

First published in 2016

A croque madame is a very special kind of sandwich. A sandwich to take time over. A sandwich to share.

They don’t make them like this anymore.

There are so many delicious layers to a croque madame. One of these layers might be enough for an everyday sandwich, but this feast just keeps on adding.

It starts with a ham and cheese sandwich – layers of baked French ham, nutty Gruyère cheese and a little Dijon mustard, all extremely tasty. Next, the sandwich is fried in butter until crisp, golden and very melty. But we have not finished yet.

A thick, creamy, milky béchamel, flavoured with yet more Gruyère and perhaps a little Parmesan, is spooned generously on top. This is, of course, sprinkled with yet more cheese, before being grilled until caramelised and bubbly.

Finally, as if that wasn’t enough, a runny fried egg is slid on top.

Now you can eat.




Gruyère and Parmesan béchamel

Croque madame sandwich


To begin, make the béchamel. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes. Add the milk and whisk until smooth and starting to thicken
Continue cooking for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently, until very thick and starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Scrape in the nutmeg, stir in the cheeses until melted and set aside while you prepare the rest of the sandwich
Making 4 sandwiches, layer 1 slice of sourdough, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 2 slices of ham, 25g of the grated Gruyère and top with another slice of bread
Heat the butter in a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the sandwiches, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook the sandwiches on both sides until golden brown and the cheeses have melted, about 2 minutes on each side
While the sandwiches are cooking, heat the grill. Divide the béchamel between the 4 sandwiches, spreading it over one of the toasted sides. Sprinkle over the last of the Gruyère and grill under very bubbly and lightly browned
While the sandwiches are grilling, fry the eggs – use the frying pan you made the sandwiches in, there might even be a little browned butter left in the pan from cooking the eggs. If not, add a little more butter or oil. Heat the pan to medium hot, add the eggs, cover and turn off the heat
Leave the eggs to gently steam-fry in the residual heat. The eggs are done when the top of the white is cooked, but the yolk is still very runny – about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the yolks with truffle salt and serve atop the sandwiches
First published in 2016

Specialising in vegetarian food, Nancy has cooked her way around Europe and now writes full time for publications and her blog, Delicious from Scratch.

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