All history aside, what we miss so much about France, specifically Paris, is not only the art, the life, the people, it is the food, specifically French bistro food. The croque monsieur is the king of French bistro food, first appearing on menus in 1910 as a quick bar snack. This sandwich goes beyond your mother’s ham and cheese sandwich and elevates it with gooey gruyere, Dijon, and a slathering of béchamel.
Make this sandwich, drink some rose, and watch some firework, and Bonne Fête Nationale!Ingredients: makes 2 or 4 small ones
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 ½ Tablespoons flour
1 cup hot milk
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ Lb ham (any sweet smokey ham) not too thin
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
6 oz grated gruyere
¼ grated parmesan
4 slices sourdough bread
Whole grain mustard
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Toast the bread by placing the slices down on a baking sheet and put in oven. Toast 5 minutes, then flip the slices and toast another 3.
In a small sauce pan, melt butter on low heat. Once melted, add flour and stir for about 2 minutes.
Next slowly add hot milk while constantly whisking, until it has thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Take off the heat and add the salt, pepper, pinch of nutmeg, ¼ cup of gruyere, and all of the parmesan. Mix and let sit.
To assemble the sandwich spread whole grain mustard on two slices of bread, next lay the ham and sprinkle with half of the left over gruyere. Lay another piece of bread, and smother with cheese sauce and top with remaining cheese.
Bake in oven for 5 minutes, and then turn the broiler on and broil for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese has browned.
Voila! Eat alone, or you can serve with some Dijon on the side, and some cornichon pickles to balance out the rich creamy cheese!