L’Epicerie, a little French deli close to where we live makes the most phenomenal Croque Monsieur – a sort of ham and cheese covered with cheesy sauce and broiled. For the number of grilled cheeses I crank out around here, it occurred to me that I might crank it up a notch and turn out a Croque Monsieur (translation: Mr. Crunch) one of these days. I mean look at this thing – what’s not to love? Especially now that parkas are back in season?
Searching around, I found a lot of CM recipes that were simply ham & cheese, and then a Barefoot Contessa recipe as well as one credited to some café in Paris that was made of ham & gruyère, with a gruyère cheese sauce poured overtop and broiled. It’s sort of part fondue, part Welsh Rarebit (if you made it with some ale and mustard and Worcestershire).
So I dismissed all the way-too-elaborate instructions to broil the bread, spread with mustard (and sometimes crème fraîche), top with cheese and ham and another slice of bread, broil again, and then top with the cheese sauce and broil I just made a grilled ham and cheese using gruyère (although there is no need to be authentic – you could use any meltable cheese here), made a cheese sauce, poured it over top of the sandwiches and ran it under the broiler for two minutes.
(For future reference, a Croque Monsieur with a fried egg on top is a Croque Madame, or Ms. Crunch.)
Cheese Sauce for your Croque Monsieur: melt 2 Tbsp. butter or oil in a pan with 3 Tbsp. flour, whisk until the butter melts and you have a smooth paste, whisk in 2 cups milk, heat until it bubbles, and stir in 1-2 cups grated cheese.