I think it is safe to say that Croques Monsieur sandwiches are my favorite all time sandwich. I have to admit I am a late fan. After watching Meryl Streep whip these up in the movie, “It’s Complicated” I was more than intrigued. What is this sandwich and why does Alec Baldwin want to lick the plate? I came home at Googled it. Wikipedia told me this, “A croque-monsieur (is a hot ham and cheese (typically Emmental or Gruyere) grilled sandwich. It originitated in France as a fast-food snack served in cafes and bars. More elaborate versions come coated in a Mornay or Bechamel sauce.) Hmmmm. I must know more.
When creating the menu for Sugarella’s 1st Birthday Party I knew I wanted to make mini Croque Monsieur. I made what I thought was more than enough. So much more that I envisioned enjoying a couple once the party was over and I was recapping the highlights. Um, no. Didn’t happen. I did not get a single teensy tiny sliver of anything Croque Monsieur related. Quelle tragédie! If you decide to serve these, make more than you think you need…trust me.
- 2.5 tbsps butter
- 3 tbsps all purpose flour (if you don't feel the sauce is thick enough to spread add a little more flour)
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg (ground nutmeg just isn't the same, if you can, purchase fresh nutmegs and ground them yourself)
- ½ tsp pepper *optional
- In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium low heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light golden sandy color, about 6-7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, season with salt, pepper (if using), and nutmeg. Set aside until ready to use. Mixture should be kind of thick. You are going to spread it on bread so if you need to thicken it add flour and whisk but only little bits at a time.
- 1 loaf good quality white bread (the kind in the bakery section, not in a package on the bread aisle)
- 1 lb good quality ham (I prefer honey ham)
- Round of brie cheese
- Butter for spreading
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with slices of bread. Assemble the sandwiches by spreading Bechamel sauce on the bread then placing ham down on one slice and thin brie wedges on the other. Put halves together and repeat process until you have a full sheet of sandwiches.
- Bake the sandwiches for about 5 minutes on each side, making sure not to overcook or burn. You want each side to be golden brown and the cheese to be melted and gooey. Bake longer if necessary just don't burn it!
- This should make about 6 full sized sandwiches and about 24 minis possibly more depending on how big your bread is. If you are serving full sandwiches and not minis I would spoon a bit of the sauce over top of it after plating.