There is something so decadent and comforting about the classic Croque Monsieur. The French version of a grilled ham-and-cheese, but with the added layer of bechamel sauce, quite luxurious indeed. These sandwiches have been appearing on cafe menus in Paris since the early 1900s. Since the ingredients for a Croque Monsieur are simple, you should choose the best quality ingredients. We splurged on Jambon de Paris, Tomyere (another version of Gruyere), Amora mustard (my favorite!) and some really good pain de mie (soft white bread). Jules said, and I quote, “I think this is the best Croque Monsieur I have ever had. Ever.”
For each sandwich, you will need:
2 slices pain de mie or other sliced white bread
1-2 slices Jambon de Paris, or other wet-cured ham with no crazy added flavoring/spices
Grated Gruyere or Emmental
Amora mustard, or any other strong Dijon mustard (optional, but this really brings out a nice flavor with the cheese)
Butter one slice of bread, and set that side down on a baking sheet. Then, add a spoonful of bechamel sauce on top and spread evenly to all edges. Next, layer a slice of ham and a little cheese. Spread Dijon mustard on the next slice of bread, and face the Dijon side down to cover the ham. Add another spoonful of bechamel on top, spread evenly, and then sprinkle with cheese. Place in the oven at about 350F for 5-7 minutes, then a few minutes under the broiler to melt the cheese and turn it slightly golden. Voila!
Basic Bechamel sauce:
1 T. butter
1 T. flour
1 cup warm milk
Melt butter in a saucepan, add flour and mix well to remove clumps. Add the warm milk very slowly and stir constantly to avoid lumps. Once the sauce is to your desired consistency, season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of grated nutmeg.