Saturday, August 21, 2010
Croque Monsieurs for Breakfast
Every summer two of my gal pals and I take a week off of work to enjoy some girl time in a desert climate...filled with shopping, sunning, spa-ing and of course serious consumption of food. This year we had access to a kitchen thanks to one of the gals moving into a fabulous pad in Las Vegas, so we added a little cooking to our agenda. We came up with a list of favorite recipes plus some new ones to try and the three of us selected a few meals to enjoy during the week. Let's just say we didn't exactly pick low cal spa food! It's vacation after all. And we couldn't fit home cooked lunches into our schedule so why not have lunch for breakfast?
Croque Monsieur is delicious grilled hot ham sandwich. Ham is not generally my thing but I'm so glad I tried this French version several years back because it is mouth watering. The key to making this sandwich so special is to use quality ingredients. Thinly sliced fresh Black Forest ham is the star. It's topped with grated gruyere cheese and dijonaise between 2 slices of freshly baked French bread. The sandwich is dipped in an egg/milk batter and onto a hot pan ala grilled cheese.
The recipe I follow stops here...but apparently it is traditional in France to top the grilled sandwich with more yummy cheese and brown it under a broiler. I didn't have enough cheese to take that extra step this time, but I will plan for it next time. Bubbly brown gruyere cheese with a bit of crunch on top would take this already rich sandwich to the next level.
Our croques were a tasty and hearty breakfast to gear us up for a grueling day at the spa. Yes, it is ok to be jealous! One of the girls made a delicious fruit salad to accompany the sandwiches. The fruit was amazing...so sweet and perfect! Tossed in a touch of sugar and lemon juice it was the perfect pairing to our rich croque monsieurs!
Check back for more food indulgences from our girls week!
Recipe from the Chopping Block cooking school in Chicago, IL
1/2 pound of fresh very thinly sliced deli Black Forest Ham
8 slices of French bread
1 1/2 cups grated gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 cups milk
Pinch of nutmeg
2-4 tablespoons butter
Place half the slices of bread on work surface and top with ham. Combine the cheese, mustard and mayo and divide between the sandwiches, then top with remaining slices of bread.
Whisk together the milk, eggs and nutmeg and dip each sandwich. Heat the butter in a large sauté pan, then add the sandwiches and brown on each side about 5 minutes total. Cut into quarters or triangles and serve hot.