The croque monsieur is a French café classic. Done well, it’s a toothsome delight of crispy, cheesy deliciousness – too often, it’s a tepid, limp disappointment.
All the more reason to make croque monsieur at home, using good bread, good ham and good cheese, for a great weekend lunch.
- 8 slices good quality white bread
- 2 Tb butter, softened (plus extra for spreading)
- 2 Tb flour
- 200 ml milk
- 150g gruyère, grated
- salt and pepper
- a pinch of nutmeg
- Dijon mustard
- 4 slices good quality ham
- Heat the grill to medium-high. Butter the slices of bread on one side and grill until golden. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan over a medium-low flame, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the flour, then gradually add the milk.
- Cook the béchamel until thickened, then remove from the heat. Stir in a third of the cheese, then season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Spread the untoasted side of half the bread slices with Dijon mustard. Top with ham and then grated cheese. Grill for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
- Cover the sandwiches with the remaining slices of bread, toasted side facing outwards. Spread with béchamel sauce, then grill for a few more minutes until the sauce is browned and bubbling.