These are very similar to the Dutch Tosti’s I made a few weeks ago. Croque Monsieur is a hot ham and cheese sandwich, the Madame variation is topped with a hot fried egg. They originated in France as a fast-food snack served in cafés and bars. The name is based on the verb croquer (“to crunch”) and the word monsieur (“mister”)— the reason behind the combination of the two words is unclear— and is colloquially shortened to croque. While the origins of the croque-monsieur are unknown, there are many speculations on how it was first created. The croque-monsieur’s first recorded appearance on a Parisian café menu was in 1910. Its earliest mention in literature appears to be in volume two of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past (À la recherche du temps perdu) in 1918.
I had these for the first time on a recent trip to NZ at the La Cigale French style Farmers Market in Parnell (Coincidently right next to the old woolstore apartment building Axis that Mark and I lived in).
Traditionally these are made with a Mornay or Béchamel sauce, however this version by Matt Moran is much easier and can be put together in minutes.
360g créme fraîche
300g gruére, grated
50g Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
16 slices fresh thick-cut white bread
8 slices leg ham
For Croque Madame
butter, for frying
Preheat the over to 200°C.
In a bowl mix together the créme fraîche, gruére cheese and Dijon mustard together then season with salt and pepper. Make the sandwiches with by layering a slice of bread with cheese mixture, a slice of leg ham, topped with another slice of bread then then a final layer of cheese mixture on the top. Repeat with remaining slices of bread and cheese mixture.
Lay the sandwiches on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.
If making Croque Madame, melt a small knob of butter in a non-stick frypan over medium heat and fry the eggs for 2-3 minutes.
Remove the sandwiches from the oven and place under a hot grill until golden-brown. Serve immediately- as a Croque Monsieur, or top with a fried egg for Croque Madame.