Hot cheese: the ultimate cure for a dreary day. And these past couple of days have sure been dreary.
One of the best vessels for hot cheese is the classic French Croque Monsieur — basically a tricked-out grilled cheese. My love of all things fromage and my mild (healthy) obsession with Meryl Streep’s character in It’s Complicated (I made her Lavender Honey Ice Cream last spring, and she makes croque monsieur on a date with Steve Martin) made this the perfect choice for my sandwich recipe.
For two sandwiches (I’m not here to judge how many sandwiches constitute one serving for you…) you will need:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup hot milk
Pinches of salt, pepper, nutmeg
1 cup grated gruyere
4 slices of white bread, crusts removed
2 slices of ham (I used virginia)
Preheat your oven to 400 F.
First the béchamel.
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until incorporated. Slowly pour in the hot milk, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is thickened.
Off the heat, add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and 2 tbsp of grated gruyere and stir until smooth.
Meanwhile, place the bread slices on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Flip them over and toast for three more minutes.
Spread each with Dijon mustard, and put a slice of ham on two of the pieces of bread. Sprinkle half of the remaining cheese on top of the ham, then close up the sandwiches. Top them with the béchamel and the remaining cheese and put them back in the oven for 5 minutes. Then broil for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.
These are delish alongside a simple green salad or just on their own!