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.