This sandwich, known as a Croque-Monsieur, is one that has always appealed to me, and to be perfectly honest, I’ve never made or eaten. Shame on me!
Now, the advice from My Paris Kitchen, is to use a dry-cured ham. Already out of the gate, I would not be following that direction. I had ham left over from our holiday celebration. I did use the suggested Comte cheese, since I had thought ahead and picked some up when I was in the “big city”. The other item was to use a special bread like what they use at Harry’s in Paris. I did find some likely-looking sourdough bread (though I’m not generally a fan). Huh. Lots of qualifiers from the start…
This sandwich is a kind of like a toasted ham and cheese – except that there’s Béchamel sauce on the inside, and more toasted cheese on the outside. You had me at Béchamel! That is actually the first thing I probably ever learned to make, even though we called it white sauce in Michigan. But it’s a wonderful addition to everything, particularly “stuff on toast” – so why not inside the toast?
The bread gets a thick coating of the béchamel on the inside of both pieces. Then ham on both, and slices of the comte cheese.
The sandwich gets put together and slathered generously on both sides with butter. This is toasted (recommended with a weight, but I just pressed the sandwiches with a spatula) on both sides. Then the sandwiches get transferred to a cookie sheet and covered with a little more cheese before going under the broiler.
These end up with a bubbly toping of melty cheese.
So – the verdict? I may have over-hyped this to myself. It was good. Legendary? Um. But to be fair, as noted above, I didn’t use the suggested type of ham. And sourdough – not my favorite. But it was good. Not sure I’d make again. Huh!
Postscript: These were huge sandwiches and one would have been enough for 2 people. So there were leftovers. I heated the remaining halves in the oven. I also decided to turn my half into a croque-madame. That is, add a runny egg on top, assuming that anything with a runny egg on top must be better. And it was.
And like many famous Parisian dishes, I’m absolutely certain that this would be phenomenal when sitting at Harry’s in Paris, drinking a glass of wine. Or any other bistro, under the same conditions. It’s not the recipe, tasty enough. It just didn’t live up to what I had in my head. I’m not really sure what that was. What I do know is that this was a fun dish to prepare, and I’m happy I made it.
8 thoughts on “CtBF|Fried ham and cheese sandwich”
I’m sorry this didn’t live up to what you’d imagined – that’s true for a lot of storied dishes, isn’t it? As good as a madeleine can be, the reputation Proust has given it has lifted it up to unscalable heights. Your Comte cheese melted beautifully. I’d like to try this sandwich with that or Gruyère next time.
Thanks Teresa! I did like the cheese. I am often a victim of my own expectations (or sometimes memories). I’m always happy for a tasty grilled cheese. This surely would have been better in a little bistro with a crisp glass of something to go with.
Oh, and agreed about the madeleines. My pans didn’t really even get a consideration of coming with me in the move. Probably the same thing… Not that I didn’t KEEP them… 🙂
I’m with you on the notion that no matter how good certain legendary dishes taste, they never live up to expectation. You may be wowed the first time, the second time, not so much. I used Comte and it took a long time to melt.
What your really trying to get out of the post this week is to be able to talk yourself into a trip to Paris just to test your premise. Why not? I like how you always photograph your featured recipes for your banner. That’s a great idea. Me, I like sourdough. I like bread of any kind. I do think using two different kinds of melting cheese do make a difference. I used Gruyère. Sorry you didn’t love, love, love this but think it might “wear well” if you make it another time or two with the egg.
Thanks, Mary. You might just be right about that!! I could certainly test my theory about a number of “bistro” dishes.
I liked this a lot more with the egg, or Madame-style! I’m sure my next test will be better.
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No shame on you. You remedied the situation, after all. I think if you try it with non-sourdough, you’ll like it better. So much to like about this sandwich.
I would love to try this sandwich with an egg on top, but I have resisted because the sandwich by itself is so hearty. Perhaps I will take a cue from you and make HALF a sandwich with the egg on top. Yours looks very appetizing!
What a bummer that it didn’t live up to expectations. It’s a tough balance when I hear people just raving about a wine or a dish, trying not to get too hyped up about it in case I expect too much. It’s happened with movies, too! Anyway, I totally agree about the context being important for this one. I absolutely loved the recipe, but I was exhausted and finally home after a work trip, drinking a nice glass of rosé. Regardless, gorgeous photos, Candy!