croque-mon·sieur: noun. A French “all-fancy-like” grilled cheese and ham, that is dripped with Béchamel sauce, then grilled and/or fried, then devoured.
If you’ve been following Curdis the last couple of weeks, you know he loves his fancy sandwiches. This is another easy and scrumptious sandwich that I would have no problem serving to dinner guests, along with a nice salad, some Truffle Pommes Frites and a young Nebbiolo. There are, as you can imagine, many versions of this out there. My version is a pretty traditional Croque, but instead of using the usual Gruyère, I chose Wrångebäck, a Swedish cow’s milk cheese with the texture of an alpine and tang like a cheddar. It has a great melting point, and browns up nicely with the Béchamel. Side note; Béchamel may sound daunting, but it’s super easy, and is a sauce that you absolutely need to have in your recipe repertoire. It is the base for all things amazing - gratins, classic Italian lasagna, mac n’ cheese, fondue, white pizza, etc. Béchamel keeps in the fridge for about five days and freezes well too, so don’t be afraid to double up on the Béchamel portion of this recipe - you never know when Curdis is going to use it again…
Wrångebäck Croque Monsieur
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
salt and pepper
4 slices good country bread
2 ounces Zoe’s Ham
1/3 pound Wrångebäck, grated
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. When the butter is melted, add the flour and stir until combined and paste-like. Cook over heat for about 1 minute.
- Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil; reduce heat and continue whisking until smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce is a little thick, add in a little more milk and stir. You are now a Saucier de Béchamel!
- Under the broiler, lightly toast both sides of the bread slices.
- Remove from oven and spread Dijon on two slices of the bread, layer on 1-ounce ham and ¼ - ½ cup grated cheese per sandwich. Top with second slice of bread, spoon Béchamel on top, sprinkle with more cheese and lightly season with salt and pepper.
- Slide these right under the broiler until the sauce and cheese are melted, browned and bubbly.