A deliciously cheesy French ham sandwich with bechamel, the difference between the croque madame vs croque monsieur is a sunny side up egg.
Croque Madame vs Croque Monsieur
The croque madame or croque monsieur is a hot ham and cheese sandwich that comes from the French. It comes in two forms: the croque madame (with a sunny side egg on top) or the croque monsieur (without the egg). Croque comes from the French verb “croquer” meaning to crunch or to bite. The croque monsieur originated in French bars and cafes as a quick and simple meal around 100 years ago and remains popular to this day. It’s a great recipe to have in your arsenal because it is simple, delicious, versatile, and uses ingredients that one typically already has at home.
The Difference Between Croque Monsieur vs Croque Madame
The difference between the croque monsieur vs croque madame is the sunny side up egg. The sunny side egg on top adds a bit of a wow factor to your croque madam. So really the difference between the croque madame vs croque monsieur is sexiness. I like to make sure my sunny side up egg is sufficiently covered with freshly ground pepper. I also like my egg yolk to be in the center of the egg white. See here for some great single egg pans.
For the Sandwich:
4 slices of sourdough bread (about 0.5 inch thick)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cups gruyere or comte shredded cheese
1 lb bistro ham, sliced (if you can’t find bistro ham, choose your favorite quality deli ham)
2 cups bechamel (see below)
For the bechamel:
2 cups whole milk
50 grams AP flour
50 grams butter
Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
CROQUE MADAME PREPARATION:
1.) Prepare the bechamel – Heat up the two cups of whole milk on the stove to a light simmer. Meanwhile, melt the 50 grams of butter in a sauce pan. Once melted, add the 50 grams of flour and whisk together. If you are using nutmeg, add now. Cook for a couple minutes until the raw flour taste is gone, but do no let the mixture turn brown. Slowly add in the hot milk while whisking until everything is homogenous. Bring this to a light boil while whisking, and then turn of the heat. Using the whisk, season with salt to taste. Your bechamel is finished.
Croque Madam Sandwich Preparation
2.) Croque Madam Sandwich Preparation – Melt two tablespoons of butter in pan and add sourdough slices. Cook them on each side until they are golden brown. Spread Dijon mustard evenly on each slice. Divide ham among the four croque madams – lay out ham so that it is draping over the ends of the bread.
Spread the bechamel evenly among the four sandwiches, layering it on top of the ham. Finally, cover the top of the croque monsieurs generously with the shredded cheese.
3.) Finishing the croque monsieur sandwich – Preheat oven to 400 deg. Place assembled sandwiches on a baking sheet (layer this baking sheet with foil for easy clean up afterwards since the cheese will melt over). Place sandwiches in oven for seven minutes. Meanwhile, melt one tablespoon of butter in nonstick pan and cook the four eggs sunny side up so that the white has fully set but the yolk is still runny. Season the eggs with salt and black pepper; set aside and keep warm. After the croque madames have been in the oven for seven minutes, turn on the broiler.
Cook croque monsieur sandwiches under broiler until the cheese is fully melted and becomes brown and darkened from the high heat. This could be from 1 to 3 minutes, but make sure to keep an eye on things at this point of the process. Once your sandwiches have developed a nice brown color on top, remove them from the oven. Place one sunny side up egg on the center of each croque madame sandwich. Enjoy!!