Croque Monsieur

Iconic French baked ham and cheese sandwich with béchamel sauce.

Adapted from La Bonne Soupe

Croque Monsieur

What you need:

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c milk
  • Fleur de sel (French sea salt) and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 c grated Gruyère or other Swiss-type cheese, divided
  • 4 thin slices baked ham
  • 4 thin slices Swiss cheese
  • 4 slices firm white bread, toasted (I use small baguettes or ciabatta and skip the toasting)
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 4 sprigs parsley

What you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°.
  • Butter an ovenproof dish.
  • Melt butter in heavy saucepan over low heat.
  • Add flour, stirring with wire whisk or wooden spoon, until a smooth paste forms, about 1 minute. Being careful not to burn.
  • Raise the heat to medium and slowly stir in the milk, whisking until the sauce boils.
  • Continue to whisk or stir until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat.
  • Lay bottoms of bread in dish.
  • Spread about 1-2 tbs of bechamel sauce on bread.
  • Lay 2 slices of ham on each of two slices of toasted bread.
  • Top with 2 slices of cheese.
  • Close sandwiches with tops of bread.
  • Spread remaining sauce on top of sandwiches.
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Spread half of the sauce on top of each sandwich.
  • Bake about 15 min, or until cheese has melted and turns golden brown.
  • To serve, transfer the sandwiches to plates and garnish with tomatoes and parsley sprigs.

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