Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Un Peu de Indulgence

I get daily emails from Williams-Sonoma with coupons and new recipes and occasionally they'll include a recipe or two.

Well, the other day an email came through advertising a new line of French cookware, so the included a few French recipes to set our culinary minds a-spinnin'. One of said recipes was for a Croque Madame.

Croque Madame is indulgent and rich, and A.MAH.ZING!!! Whenever I have brunch at Pastis, it's a safe assumption that this is what I'm ordering...

It's the sister of the basic French dish Croque Monsieur: a "grilled ham and cheese", as it were. But like all things French it's not quite so simple as that. The Monsieur is traditionally made with a bechamel and melted gruyere on thick sweet bread and ham. The Madame is the same but with a sunny-fried egg on top.

My version of the Madame is a little different. One: because I don't love sweet bread. Two: gruyere is awesome but not my favorite; and it's also not very common in the small markets of NYC. So mine is made with Peasant bread and swiss cheese -- The recipe is below!!!


2 tbs butter, plus more for spreading
1 tbs flour
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
8 oz swiss cheese, half thinly sliced and half shredded
8 pieces peasant or sourdough bread
4 thick slices blackforest ham
4 eggs

In a small saucepan, melt 1 tbs butter over medium low heat. Once butter is bubbly, sprinkle in the flour and whisk. Let the mixture cook until bubbly, then quickly whisk in the milk. Allow to cook a few minutes and thicken. Once it's slightly sticking to a spoon, add the shredded swiss cheese. Use a spoon in a figure "8" motion to melt and combine. Keep warm over low heat.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Butter each piece of bread. Place 2 pieces of bread butter-side down in the hot skillet. Spoon on some of cheese sauce, then add ham, a few slices of the sliced cheese, and a 2nd slice of bread butter-side up. Grill until golden brown, then flip. Cook until 2nd side is also golden, then remove. Repeat with remaining bread & ham. Keep warm by either covering or placing in warm oven.

Melt 1 tbs butter in skillet. Cook four eggs on one side until the whites are just cooked through.

Spoon a healthy amount of cheese sauce onto the top of the sandwhiches. Top each with a sunny side egg.

Serves 4

Is it the most healthy? Nahhh. But I'm telling you -- it's crazy delicious. So the next time you feel like indulging yourself a bit, cook up one of these babies :-)