Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 9: Croque Monsieur with Greens

4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half or whole milk
2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
   Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices sandwich bread
3/4 pound baked ham, thinly sliced
2 cups shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon apricot jam or orange marmalade
2 teaspoons dried tarragon
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 cups mixed baby greens, any variety

Heat a heavy nonstick pan or a griddle over medium-low to medium heat.

Heat a small sauce pot over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and melt. Whisk the flour into the butter and cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the half-and-half. Season with 1 teaspoon of the Dijon mustard, the nutmeg, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 minutes to thicken.

Remove from the heat. Spread the bread slices with the sauce and make sandwiches, using a couple of folded slices of ham per sandwich.

Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of softened butter lightly across the outside faces of each sandwich. Spread the shredded cheese across a plate and gently press each side of the sandwiches into the cheese, then place on the hot pan or griddle. The cheese will brown and form a crisp coating as the sandwich cooks and heats through. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, or until evenly golden.

In a salad bowl, whisk together the remaining teaspoon of mustard, the vinegar, apricot jam, and tarragon. Whisk in the EVOO in a slow stream.

Add the greens to the bowl and toss to dress. Season the salad with salt and pepper and serve on large plates with the hot sandwiches alongside.


This is RR's "French Any-Time Meal, Quand il Fait Froid (When it's cold outside)." This is what she says: "Ah, April in Paris! Word of advice: pack a parka! I have been in France twice in April, once to Paris, once to Bordeaux. Twice I froze. Oh, well. The hot ham and cheese tastes better then."

I really like these sandwiches! The cheese on the outside is just so crispy and delicious. I did change a few things for health reasons. I made the sauce, and I guess you're supposed to use 1/4 of the sauce on each sandwich. But it makes so much that I just spread a little on each slice of bread, and saved the rest for the 2 variations of this meal coming up. It works out well, because it's not so much fat and you don't have to make the sauce 3 times! I also changed the 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon to 2 teaspoons dried tarragon.

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