Ninteen90 Something: Croque Madame
In all of our respective journeys of figuring out how to cook, I think the very first thing we all learn how to make is a grilled cheese sandwich. No recipe or steps are as easier to follow. Assemble the sandwich with two slices of bread, one slice of Kraft cheese and two pads of butter. Sear on each side and enjoy the crispy, buttery fruits of your minimal labor. If I wanted to kick that up a notch, I'd always add a couple of slices of ham to mine if we had it around the house. It was my favorite thing to have while watching Saturday morning cartoons in our downstairs den. It was something I could do myself without the help of either of my parents who were fighting for every extra minute of sleep they could get.
Though I'd like to think my tastebuds are a little more sophisticated these days, those flavors are still undeniable - Kraft cheese included. But since I have grown, so has my repertoire of recipes and cooking techniques.
A couple of months ago, I posted a recipe for croque madame to my Instagram story series Brunch with Brundle and it was so well received. I've since continued developing the recipe and swapped out a few things for others including the bacon, Italian loaf and jack cheese. This version is equally delicious with slightly different mouth feel and added delicacy.
- 4 croissants
- 8 slices of cured and sliced ham
- 4 eggs
- shredded gruyere cheese
- 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
- 3 cups of whole milk
- 3 garlic cloves (finely minced)
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- granulated garlic
- chives (chopped)
- To make garlic bechamel: in a medium size saucepan, melt down half a stick of butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute until translucent. Add flour and whisk until everything is mixed and starts to turn light brown. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Continue stirring for about 10 minutes. Turn the heat as low as it'll go and stir occasionally. *Note: Add more milk if mixture is too thick or more flour if it's too thin.
- Slice croissants in half. In a large pan, toast halves in melted butter over medium-high heat, inside side down until golden brown. Set to the side.
- In a large baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and cooking spray, arrange ham slices the same size as croissants. Ladle garlic bechamel over the ham, then sprinkle with gruyere. Place in the broiler until cheese is bubbling and golden brown. Remove.
- In a medium size pan coated with melted butter over medium heat, break eggs and place in the pan one at a time. Cook slowly without moving, until egg whites are completely set and yolks begin to thicken but not harden.
- Assemble open faced sandwich with croissant halves on the bottom then ham and melted cheese. Top with fried egg and chopped chives.
- Enjoy this childhood favorite of mine, all grown up!
As seen on Instagram's Brunch with Brundle.