I’d start by telling you a cool story about my life here in Salem, but I haven’t gathered any. I guess Thanksgiving was last week, that happened… with family in Utah. Hm, I’ll let Andrea to the story telling for the next little bit as she’s got the goods right now. So on to to this weeks drool fest:
Mr. Crunchy. That’s what it is, a “Croque Monsieur” literally means Mr. Crunchy… and although the name must extend from the bread used, the sandwich has enough sauce and cheese and goo to make any melted sandwich look weak in comparison. The only difference between the Monsieur and the Madame is the soft fried egg on top — all these years, in my own mind, I distinguished the two by viewing the egg as a ladies hat (the massive rimmed sort worn to the Kentucky derby.) Come to find out, the resemblance of a large hat is exactly why it was dubbed the lady-wich.
Long winter nights have set in strong and both my little girls are sick, so with the obvious choice of a thick vegetable soup being on the dinner menu, tonight’s meal needed a hearty companion. Thus the “Crunchies.” I once demonstrated how to make this sandwich at a cooking class, and the main concern of the group seemed to lie with the stacking order. In reality, sandwich stacking orders vary just as much as our hamburger stacking orders do… and it isn’t crucial. Your burger doesn’t actually change if the lettuce and pickles switch positions. Don’t sweat the stack. Embrace the stack. Personalize the stack.
Boss that stack.
The way we stack it at the Catudal’s goes like this, from bottom to top: 1st bread slice, ham, grated cheese, sauce, 2nd bread slice, sauce, egg. Back in the days when I was still a sandwich eater (oh those were the days…. sigh….reminisce…. sigh….) I smeared my bread with extra Dijon because I view the extra kick as necessary.
This is a serve hot right off the plate sandwich, so a useful tip is to prep the sauce and ingredients first, get the assembly line in order, heat the broiler, then have the family sit down at the table to start eating a side dish (veggies, fruit) and now this is the moment where you begin the magic. Build, broil, and slide it onto the plate.
I don’t have much left to say about it…. Just that I’d suggest to go for the Madame, because the Monsieur feels a bit naked without the egg on top. Not that I’m against nudity. I like naked things, to a normal degree. But a sandwich for dinner should be the kind that makes you so full and happy that all you can manage to do afterwards is… well….
it’s been said.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups warm milk — cows milk is traditional, but we never carry cow and almond milk worked smashigly
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1½ tablespoons Dijon Mustard
- hefty pinch of nutmeg
- 2-3 cups grated cheese– use either Gruyere, Fontina, Emmental
- heafty artisan bread, pref with a good crusty crust
- 8 ounces ham, medium thickness slice
- Pour the milk in a small sauce pan and set heat to med-low to gently warm it while you’re prepping the sauce.
- In another saucepan, melt the butter over low heat them and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for approx 2 minutes. Gently pour the warm milk into the butter/flour mixture (your roux) whisk steadily until the sauce is thickened. Turn off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, Dijon, and ½ cup grated cheese.
- Slice the bread and place on a baking sheet (or be efficient/lazy like me and use folded tinfoil) and start building the stack, but stop before putting on the second piece of bread: 1st bread slice, ham, grated cheese, sauce. Let that much broil for a moment. Then open the oven and put on the 2nd slice of bread and one more generous slathering of sauce. Let the sandwich broil for another couple of minutes until you can see the cheese inside melted and the sauce on top bubbly.
- While you’re waiting prep the soft egg: cook an egg on low with s&p, flipping once and careful not to bust the bubble.
- Remove the sandwiches, slide the egg on top, and serve hot.