Kathy at All Food Considered> selected Croque Monsieur for this week's Barefoot Bloggers recipe.
My first thought when I was preparing these sandwiches, "This is the most effort I have gone to for grilled cheese." Upon tasting them, I thought they tasted a lot like a hot brown, a regional dish here in Kentucky. After eating a croque monsieur in France earlier this week, I decided this recipe hit the nail on the head. I also didn't realize until then that I was supposed to add cheese to the top of the sandwich instead of over the cheese sauce, but how bad can a layer of cheese over cheese be? Simply delicous!
I did omit the mustard, but think that a honey or raspberry mustard would add a nice complement to the creaminess of the cheese.
Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.
To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.
Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes.
Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.