Iconic French baked ham and cheese sandwich with béchamel sauce.
Adapted from La Bonne Soupe
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.