Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Croque Madame

Allow me to reminisce.  I love Paris.  It is by far one of my favorite cities that I have visited.  My first trip there was in 8th grade, and we saw it all.  I was thrilled with the sheer beauty of the place, and I loved seeing all of the art and architecture that I had been learning about in my classes.  We ate at the top of the Eiffel tower and rode the metro.  It was magical.  Since then I have never been able to get enough.  Every time I go to the Louvre, I discover things that I never knew were there.  I love seeing the windows of Sainte Chapelle lit up in the sunlight.  And of course, the food is to die for.  I've eaten crepes with Nutella from street vendors, Chicken Cordon Bleu outside of Moët et Chandon, and of course, onion soup.  One of my favorite memories of Paris includes food.  It was a beautiful day and I had just left Sainte Chapelle.  I walked across the street and bought a beautiful sandwich with brie on a baguette, sat down on a bench, and watched people walk by and light come through the trees on the street with Notre Dame in the distance.  Truly la vie en rose.

Unfortunately, in my times in Paris, I never managed to try a croque madame sandwich.  Of course, it went onto my list of 100 things to make, and it was so worth the wait.  It is fantastically creamy, savory and just wonderful.  It really makes me think of Paris, and now I am wishing that I could go back there soon.  I only wish that the picture did justice to the beauty of French food and the aura of Paris.

Croque Madame
adapted from La Petite Vancouver

1/2 - 3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Gruyère or Swiss cheese (or more to taste)
8 slices of ham
4 slices sturdy white bread
2 large eggs
Olive oil

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1-2 minutes.  Whisking constantly, pour in milk, beginning with 1/2 cup and adding more if needed to make a thick, but spreadable sauce.  Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, reduce heat and simmer.  Add nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat.
Make sandwiches by placing 4 ham slices between 2 of the bread slices.  Spread the sauce evenly over each of the sandwiches, then sprinkle cheese evenly over the sauce.
Heat oven to 250 (yes, that's 250).  Bake sandwiches for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese melts.
Meanwhile, fry the eggs in a little bit of olive oil to your preference of doneness. (I prefer medium, but sunny side up, easy or hard would work as well.)  When sandwiches are finished baking, top each sandwich with one egg.  Serve with french fries and salad.  Makes 2 sandwiches.


Steph said...

that looks awesome! I want to go to Paris and eat one too! I'll prob just have to settle on making one myself!

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Leesah said...

Ohh, that looks great, reminds me of the sandwiches my mom used to make me, mmmmm.

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