Saturday, July 17, 2010


The ultimate French Bistro sandwich is none other than a croque monsieur. I am feeling quite inspired these day by the French and their cooking - probably comes from re-watching Julie&Julia (a new classic!).

A croque monsieur is a deliciously simple French sandwich that first appeared in Paris in 1910. It is a warm sandwich filled with ham, Dijon mustard and either gruyere or emmetal cheese. This sandwich, commonly labeled croque has become a staple to-go food in France, but is still a classic bistro sandwich, often served with side micro greens. I first fell in love with croque monsieur's at my favourite French bistro/patisserie called Patachou in Toronto. It is just delicious, and the best part about the sandwich is the gooey cheese accompanied by some tart Dijon and crusty French baguette.  This sandwich will automatically make you feel like you are on the streets of Paris, in a cute and quaint cafe!

Since the croque has become such a popular item, many variations of the sandwhich have now been established.

Croque Madame: croque monsieur with a poached or fried egg on top
Croque Provençal: with tomato
 Croque Auvergnant : with bleu d'Auvergne cheese
Croque Norvegien: with smoked salmon instead of ham
Croque Tartiflette: with sliced potatoes and Reblochon cheese
Croque Bolognese: with Bolognese (meat) sauce
Croque Senor: with tomato salsa
Croque Hawaiian: with a slice of pineapple

Croque Madame

Naturally I have decided to share with you the recipe, from none other than Laura Calder - from Food Network's French Food at Home. Who else could give a more authentic recipe than her. Try this out - so simple, so easy, so delicious. 

Croque Monsieur : Serves 1 
- 2 Slices baguette, brioche or any other type of "white" bread 
- 1 spoonful crème fraiche
- 1 spoonful Dijon mustard
- grated gruyere cheese or comté
- Ground black Pepper
- Paprika
- 1 Slice very thin ham baked or boiled
- Butter for frying  

- Cut the bread so that the two slices are still attached at the bottom, like a man’s wallet.
- Mix the crème fraîche and mustard together with paprika, and spread it generously on both insides of the "wallet". Season with pepper.
- Make a sandwich within a sandwich: scatter in a layer of grated cheese, lay the ham on top of it, and scatter more grated cheese on top of the ham. (Alternatively, stir the cheese into the cream and mustard mixture, spread on both sides of the bread with the ham in the middle.)
- Press the sandwich together with your hand. Fry in butter in a frying pan, a few minutes per side until it’s golden on the outside, and melting in the middle. Serve hot with a bit of salad.

photo credit: google images & laura calder

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