Ever since our trips to Europe a few years ago my wife and I have yearned for great French food. One of the best things we ate while we were in France was Croque Madame. These were usually served in small bistros along a square, one of our most memorable ones was the one located immediately adjacent to Notre Dame.
Since I have been making Lobster Mac and Cheese which uses a homemade bechamel sauce this recipe is not very difficult. The most difficult part of the recipe is the bread. Living in a suburban area of Southern California there are no bakeries in this area that make unique and special breads such as Pullman loaves or Pain de Mie. I may need to invest in a loaf pan to make those breads at home. For now, I used a loaf that I purchased at Panera, and I just asked them not to slice the bread.
Recipe Source – Bobby Flay
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk, heated
12 ounces gruyere cheese, grated
½ cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
Twelve 3/4-inch-thick slices pain de mie or Pullman bread, lightly toasted
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
12 thin slices baked ham
Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking, until smooth, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer until slightly reduced and thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add 1/2 cup grated gruyere and the Parmesan and whisk until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Preheat the broiler. Place 6 slices of bread on a baking sheet and spread 1 tablespoon of the mustard over each. Top with 2 slices ham and half of the remaining gruyere. Broil until the cheese begins to melt, about 1 1/2 minutes. Top with the remaining 6 bread slices, and then pour a generous amount of bechamel on top of each sandwich and sprinkle with the remaining gruyere and Parmesan. Broil until the cheese sauce is bubbling and evenly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 3 eggs, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny. Repeat with the remaining butter and eggs.