Bonjour, mon amis! The name Croque-Madame sounds oh so French-y! Truthfully, the name is really more complicated than making this awesome sandwich. Simply put, its really just a super fancy sounding (and tasting) ham and cheese sandwich with an egg on top. Don’t be fooled though, because its anything but average. I’ve actually been fortunate enough to eat a very official, very tasty Croque-Madame in an adorable little French cafe in, you guessed it, France. I had forgotten about my experience with this culinary delight until I stumbled upon a friend of mine’s picture of a Croque-Madame she ordered while abroad. Long story short, I needed to remake this simple sounding sammie once I was reminded of its French deliciousness.
The cool part about this sandwich, like most, is that it’s completely customizable. And “custom” variations also have cool names. Want it without the egg? You’ve got yourself a Croque-Monsieur. Like your sandwiches with tomato? You’d be a fan of Croque-Provencal. Feeling like a sweet islander? Put a slice of pinapple on it and you’ve got yourself a Croque-Hawiian. Now that I’ve proven my trendiness, here’s the recipe:
2 slices of hearty bread
5 pieces of thinly sliced ham
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 thin slices of cheese (typically gruyere or swiss, I used swiss)
1 egg (fried or poached)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter 1 side of each bread slice. Place one slice of bread, butter side down, on a skillet over medium-high heat on a stovetop. Place one slice of cheese on the bread. Place the slices of ham on top of the cheese and top with the second slice of bread, butter side up. Cook sandwich until each side is golden brown, about 3 minutes per side (like you would a standard grilled cheese).
2. Here comes the cool part: remove the sandwich from the skillet (unless it is oven safe) and place on an oven safe pan. Top one side of the sandwich with the tablespoon of mayonnaise and the second slice of cheese. Place the sandwich in a 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
3. While the sandwich is in the oven, cook an egg on the stove to your preferred “done-ness”. I prefer mine sunny side up (aka runny and delicious) but you could also do a poached, soft-cooked, or hard-cooked egg. Season the egg with salt and pepper to taste.
4. When the cheese on the sandwich is all nice and bubbly remove it from the oven and top with your egg. This is definitely a fork and knife sandwich. Who am I kidding? Get your hands messy and dig in. BON APPETIT!
[Yields 1 sandwich]