Who is to say, for example, among the many existing versions, what was the original of the Croque Monsieur? I suspect it was the simple one—a slice of ham between 2 slices of cheese then sandwiched between 2 slices of fresh white bread, and slowly sautéed in butter. But there are more elaborate methods, such as grating the cheese and blending it with a thick cream sauce, or dipping the assembled sandwich in beaten egg, either sautéing or deep-frying it, and serving with a cheese sauce. Since there is no known classical rule to guide us, however, the cook should feel free to adapt to circumstance, cheese, and mood. —From Julia Child’s Kitchen by Julia Child
I’ve eaten many-a-Croque Monsieur/Madame in my lifetime, and Julia’s statement is absolutely true.
I personally enjoy slathering a thick Gruyére mornay sauce on each slice of bread, where you can sop up any remaining cheese sauce that lands on your plate with your sandwich.
If you must, use a fork and knife.
I prefer to lick my fingers.
Happy Sandwich Sunday!
Makes 4 Sandwiches
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 cup whole milk
6 oz. Gruyére cheese, grated
black pepper, freshly ground
8 slices smoked deli ham
8 slices bread
extra-virgin olive oil
1. Prepare mornay sauce: heat butter in small sauce pot; once melted, whisk in flour; slowly whisk in milk, breaking up any lumps; bring to boil; whisk until thick; whisk in Gruyére; season to taste; remove from heat; cool.
2. Assemble sandwiches: slather 2 Tbsps. mornay sauce and one ham slice on each slice of bread; close up sandwich; add 2 to 3 Tbsps. oil to sauté pan over low heat; add sandwich; cook until first side turns golden brown, about 5 minutes; flip and add more oil if necessary; cook until second side turns golden and mornay sauce begins to ooze out of the sandwich; serve immediately.