The French really know how to cook/bake. I mean seriously, we can pretty much thank them for the crème de la crème of food: croissants, baguettes, croque madames! What is a croque madame, you ask? It’s basically a better version on a grilled cheese. No, it’s grilled cheese on crack, smothered in more cheese, with an egg.
I’ve made some pretty decadent grilled cheeses in my day (mushroom and goat cheese with bacon is a must-try!), but this was my first time making a croque madame.
Traditionally, this sandwich is topped with the fried egg, but I just couldn’t help myself from stuffing it inside. Just look at that beautiful yellow yolk engulfed in cheese and tell me you don’t want to eat it.
*makes 2 sandwiches
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup whole milk
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 thick slices of french bread
2 cups shredded cheese (gruyere or parmesan are great!), divided
4 slices of havarti cheese
8 slices of ham
Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 400F and toast the bread slices. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat and fry both of the eggs, flipping each egg once.
Make your Béchamel sauce: in a small sauce pan, melt remaining tablespoon of butter. When butter starts to bubble, add in the flour and whisk for 2-3 minutes. Next, slowly add in the milk, whisking constantly. Keep your eye on the milk mixture, whisking often to prevent the milk from scorching or boiling over. When the mixture has thickened slightly (about 6-8 minutes), add 1/3 of the shredded cheese, salt, black pepper and nutmeg, whisk together and remove from heat.
To assemble the sandwiches: spread dijon mustard on one of the toasted bread slices, add one slice of havarti, two slices of ham, some shaved cheese, one fried egg, some more shaved cheese, two more slices of ham, one more slice of havarti and top with a toasted bread slice. Do this for both sandwiches.
When both sandwiches are assembled, place them on the foil-lined baking sheet and smother them with your Béchamel sauce. Bake at 400F for 5 minutes, then switch your oven to broil and broil for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the Béchamel sauce is golden brown and bubbling (it will take a little longer if using a toaster oven).
Remove from oven and enjoy your Croque Madame in all of its cheesy, gooey goodness!