Some foods just transport us to another place. In a single bite, you suddenly experience a different culture or find yourself on a favorite vacation. This Maille Croque Monsieur will transport you to France and give you that French bistro experience in one dish.
A croque monsieur is my daughter's favorite sandwich. Perhaps it's because she was born in France. While she has had the experience of sitting down in a real French bistro and experiencing this sandwich at the source, nothing beats mama's cooking, and there's nothing like being able to recreate a beloved favorite at home.
A Taste of France
With just a few simple ingredients, you can create something delicious and memorable in no time. This isn't your average ham and cheese sandwich. The Maille Croque Monsieur takes familiar flavors and elevates them. It all starts with the Maille Dijon mustard that you will find adding depth to the bubbly browned béchamel sauce as well as offering a pop of flavor from inside the sandwich.
With a history that dates back to 1747, Maille has been producing gourmet products for over 270 years. Their commitment to quality ingredients shows in every bite. Whether you are adding them to a recipe or accenting your lunchtime sandwich, Maille makes it easy to add delicious flavor to your favorite foods.
The Maille Dijon mustard offers up a sharp, tangy bite to offset the richness of the béchamel and the nutty cheese. When it comes to picking the right cheese and ham for your sandwich, I always recommend going with the classic Gruyere, however Swiss cheese can be substituted. For the ham you want to choose something neutral like a tavern ham or Virginia ham.
The Magic of Béchamel
There are a few steps to making this sandwich but they're both easy and part of it can be prepared ahead of time. Let's start with the béchamel sauce.
A bechemel sauce at it's heart is simply a sauce made with butter, flour, and milk. This portion of the sandwich can actually be preared the day before.
You are going to begin by melting your butter over medium-low heat. You're not looking to add any color to the butter. Once melted, add your flour. Just like the butter, you're not looking to add any color to the flour, but you do want to cook out that raw flour taste. A good indication of when you're ready to add your liquid is when the flour/butter mixture begins to smell nutty.
At this point you're ready to pour in your milk. I have three tips for creating a smooth, luscious sauce.
- First, have your milk at room temperature. When you're adding cold milk to a hot mixture, it can make the butter/flour portion seize, creating those lumps. When it's at room temperature it helps it mix in easier.
- Second, only add a portion at a time. Pour ¼ to ⅓ of the liquid in, and whisk until it's completely incorporated before adding the next portion.
- Last, don't stop whisking. Once all of the liquid is fully incorporated continue to stir and allow it to simmer until it becomes thick, decadent, and creamy.
Building Your Maille Croque Monsieur
The next part of building your Maille Croque Monsieur is to toast your bread. Because we're adding that thick velvety béchamel sauce to both the inside and top of the sandwich, we don't want the bread to get soggy. This will help maintain the texture and integrity of the sandwich once it gets baked.
Once you have layered your ham and cheese and give a final finesse of Maille Dijon on the top inside of the bread, it's time to spread a layer of béchamel sauce on top of the sandwiches and bake them in your oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until that béchamel has begun to bubble and brown. The hardest part of this is waiting just long enough for them to slightly cool off before cutting into them!
Are you looking for the perfect side to this sandwich? Check out my recipe for Cherry Summer Salad. Bon appetite!
Maille Croque Monsieur
- 4 slices bread
- 4-6 slices ham
- 1 cup gruyere cheese
- 1 tsp Maille Dijon Originale Mustard
- fresh thyme
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 tsp Maille Dijon Originale Mustard
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ cups whole milk, room temp
- In a saucepan melt the butter on medium heat.
- Add flour and whisk until a thick creamy paste form. The mixture will begin to smell nutty.
- Slowly add the milk and keep whisking continuously to avoid lumps.
- Cook the sauce until the texture is thick and creamy. It should coat the back of a spoon and hold its shape when you run a finger down it.
- Remove from stove top and add mustard, nutmeg, and salt.
- Preheat the oven on 400F degrees.
- Place the slices of bread on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes. This step will avoid the bread to get soggy from the béchamel sauce.
- Remove slices of bread from the oven, and start assembling the sandwich
- Spread béchamel sauce on the bottom slices.
- Continue with ham and half of the cheese.
- Spread a thin layer of Maille Dijon Originale Mustard on the top slices.
- Place the top slices of bread mustard side down on top off the cheese.
- Top the sandwich with remaining béchamel and cheese.
- Bake on preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling.