A croque monsieur is essentially a toasted ham and cheese sandwich but we promise you, when you make it the master chef’s way it is no ordinary toasted sandwich. Authentic, fabulous, simple to make this is a real French croque monsieur that will taste so French you’ll want to make it again and again!
Chef Michel Roux Jr shares this fabulous croque monsieur recipe with us from his new book The French Kitchen.
Michel says: “I’m often asked to explain what makes a recipe a classic. The simple answer is that it is a dish that has stood the test of time. A classic can be anything from a pan of sautéed potatoes, redolent with garlic and herbs, to the most extravagant fish or meat dishes or beautiful pastries.
Properly made with béchamel sauce, this classic French hot sandwich is a delight but it is all too easy to find disappointing versions. Try preparing your own to enjoy the croque in its full glory.”
8 slices of good sourdough bread
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp plain flour
freshly grated nutmeg
280g grated cheese (a mixture of Emmental, Gruyère and Cheddar is good)
160g good-quality, sliced ham
Lightly toast the bread on both sides, then butter one side of each slice. To make the béchamel sauce, melt the remaining butter in a small pan, stir in the flour to make a roux, then whisk in the milk. Keep whisking it well to avoid lumps and bring the sauce to the boil. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook for 3–4 minutes, then remove from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Spread a little mustard on the buttered side of a piece of toast. Add a generous amount of béchamel, followed by grated cheese and a slice of ham. Spread some more béchamel on the dry side of another piece of toast and place on top of the ham, pressing a little to stick it down. Spread a little more béchamel on top of the sandwich and sprinkle with grated cheese. Make all the sandwiches in the same way.
Put the sandwiches on a baking tray and bake them in the preheated oven for 6–8 minutes until crisp and golden. Serve at once.
Recipe from THE FRENCH KITCHEN by Michel Roux Jr, © Michel Roux Jr.
Read our review of the deliciously written The French Kitchen by Michel Roux Jr