Last night, equipped with a spatula and some really good Cheese, I conquered Dinner. The Croque Monsieur: a grilled-cheese sandwich from heaven-- well, France, to be precise.
It's a perfect vehicle for the enjoyment of large amounts of cheese, in this case Cheese Boutique's wonderful Cave-aged Gruyère of Switzerland, and grated Swiss Emmanthal to melt on top.
From the meat counter, a paper-wrapped package of Jambon de Paris, described as "Parisian style". Best ham ever.
To add some aromatic zing, a jar of "Roland" Tarragon Dijon Mustard. Not that this was an easy decision-- the selection of mustards and mayos and other condiments lining the shelves is quite thought-provoking.
Bread was an easy choice-- throw in a nice crusty loaf of French, and it's time to get cooking!
To do this in proper style, we need to whip up a Béchamel sauce...
I flavoured the scalded cream with a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and some bay leaf.
As that was cooling off, I melted a couple of tablespoons of butter in the pan, then added less than half the amount of flour. It gets to froth and do its thing for a few minutes before I slowly whisk in the cream-- somewhat less than a cup, as it should be on the thick side so it will stay in place on the bread.
To make the Croques:
Spread some butter or margarine on the frying sides of thick sliced bread. The filling goes as follows: the Tarragon Dijon, then the Ham, then the Gruyere.
Place the Monsieurs in a hot pan and browned them on both sides. The thick, nutmeg-scented sauce gets spooned on top and blanketed with lots of the grated Emmanthal.
After a short time under a hot broiler they are ready to eat-- Voila!
And there you have it: Croque Monsieur, a.k.a "Mister Crispy", done Cheese B style. I served it with an Heirloom tomato salad and Drew's All Natural Raspberry Vinaigrette. I imagine a soup (tomato?) would work equally well depending on what kind of "comfort" factor you want.
The following Ingredients starred in this weeks Production:
Cave-aged Gruyère of Switzerland
Jambon de Paris
"Roland" Tarragon Dijon Mustard
Another slice of French Bread
Half and Half cream
Drew's All Natural Raspberry Vinaigrette
Thanks for reading and Happy Croque-ing!