Everyone loves a grilled cheese. To take it to the next level, and very easy to make for a crowd, the Croque Madame is the answer.
This is a recipe for four sandwiches. The Béchamel sauce will have leftovers, but add more cheese and you‘ll have a queso dip. You can also use the sauce to top lasagne before you bake it, or as a macaroni and cheese sauce, so versatile.
Eight slices of bread, toast them lightly
Two cups of grated cheese, preferably Gruyere
Sliced baked ham, enough for four sandwiches, this is the time to use the good stuff
Béchamel sauce (makes 2 cups)
5 Tablespoons butter
2 Cups of milk, cream or a combination
3 Tablespoons of flour
Salt and pepper
1/2 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
Make the Béchamel sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and whisk it for a minute or two. Add the milk or cream slowly. Stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Season with the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Turn off the heat and it can cool.
Next I toast all my bread slices and then put them onto a baking tray. I spread one side with dijon mustard, top with the ham, then sprinkle on some grated cheese. Drizzle on some Béchamel sauce. Then top with the other bread slice, more Bechamel sauce, and grated cheese.
Pop it under the broiler until it‘s browned and bubbly. Watch it carefully because it can burn quickly. They’ll be pretty hot and can cool while you fry your eggs.
Final step is to fry your eggs. I like to pop on a lid so they cook on top without having to flip them. Once you plate your Croque Monsier, make it a Madame with the fried egg on top.
Garnish with something green like parsley or green onion.