Croque Monsieur

Friday, August 27, 2010

When watching movies I am always distracted by the food they eat in the movie! In the movie "It’s Complicated" Meryl Streep’s character makes these incredible looking cheesy, toasty bits of goodness. I actually pulled out my laptop to find out what they were eating. Turns out, it was Croque Monsieur... I had never heard of these French sandwiches before, but I couldn’t get them out of my mind!

It's ironic that we watched the movie "It's Complicated" because my life is so much more simple now that I have my cast off! Woohoo!! Exactly 1 month ago I blogged about my broken arm, but I am happy to report that my 6 weeks are up and I am cast free!
I can cook again!
I can style my hair!
I can fold laundry!
I can latch my bra!
... maybe that's a little too much information!

So, back to the Croque Monsieur! Traditionally they are "sandwiches" with two pieces of bread but I didn't think my boys could bite through two pieces of french bread and besides... in the movie Meryl Streep only used one piece of bread! Basically, it's crusty french bread, Dijon mustard, black forest ham, a cheese sauce (it's called a B├ęchamel sauce), and shredded cheese to top it off. They were good, and a nice change from the flavors we are used to!

Ingredients
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Salt and Pepper
1 1/2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated and packed
Crusty French bread loaf, cut into 1 inch thick slices (sandwich size, not skinny baguettes)
8 ounces Black forest ham, thinly sliced
Dijon mustard

Directions
Using a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat until melted. Slowly add flour while whisking constantly. Continue cooking and whisking until mixture turns a light blonde color, a couple minutes. Keep color light, do not let brown. Slowly pour in warmed milk, while whisking. Keep a light simmer and continue to whisk until sauce starts to thicken. Add Parmesan and 1/4 cup Swiss cheese a little at a time while stirring. Do not add all at once, or sauce will clump. Once you’ve combined cheese into sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat to low under sauce.

Lightly toast your bread slices on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven, turn once. Do not let brown.

Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard over each toasted slice. Add about 2 slices of ham to each piece. Sprinkle each slice with the Swiss cheese reserving about 1/4 cup. Spoon B├ęchamel cheese sauce over each slice, then top with remaining Swiss cheese.

Bake for 5 minutes in the 400 degree oven. Rotate pan front to back, then turn broiler on High for 3 minutes. Cheese will be bubbling and lightly browned when ready. Be sure to keep a close watch while broiler is on, they can burn quickly.

Remove from pan, plate up and enjoy! Have an outstanding weekend, indulge a little, and be thankful for your two healthy arms!