Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Croque Madame/Monsieur


Tonight, was a breakfast for dinner night around our dinner table.  My husband's mother used to call it a "turnabout" meal.   I have just wanted plain old poached eggs on toast for days.  Why is it that we get hungry for something and then do not make it for ourselves?   Well tonight, I decided to take it up a notch with a croque madame.  

"Croque Madame" is another version of "Croque Monsieur".  A monsieur is easiest to explain as a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and covered in a bechamel sauce.  When you add a fried or poached egg on top it represents a woman's breast, making it a "Madame".  It is said that the croque monsieur originated in small Parisian cafe in 1910.  I imagine many stories and claims have been put out there.  I think it is delicious and a nice,  little fancier change up to your turnabout meals!!

This meal is really very easy to make, it just takes some assembly, so let's get started.  Depending on how many people you are cooking for, you will likely need to double your bechamel recipe.   I will post my,  very basic bechamel sauce recipe because, well, it is a very basic sauce. 

2 tbsps butter
2 tbsps flour
2 cups milk/half and half/cream
salt to taste
LOTS of fresh cracked black pepper!

Melt your butter in a small saucepan, add flour and whisk until combined, let it cook 2 min and then whisk in liquid of choice.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  When it is thickened, add salt and pepper.  Let stand while you assemble the rest of your sandwhich.  

For 2 sandwiches you will need:
4 pieces of bread of your choice
4 pieces of cheese of your choice
Ham  (enough to split betweeen 2 sandwiches, I say 8 small slices or 4 big ones.  I used shaved ham)
Butter (softened)
2-4 eggs (I used 2 on each)

Butter one side of all pieces of bread.  Layer, cheese, meat, cheese and bread.  The outsides of both pieces of bread should be buttered very well.  Put into skillet and slowly grill both sides.  Repeat with other sandwich. 

Egg poaching
While they are grilling bring a small saucepan with 3 inches of water to a heavy simmer.  Add in about a teaspoon of salt and a few drops of vinegar.  The vinegar will coagulate the whites faster making a nicer shaped egg but you will not be able to taste it.  The salt will flavor your egg and help with a nice texture.  (This is certainly optional but I recommend it.)  While water is simmering,  crack 2 eggs into the saucepan, slowly and on each side.  Use a slotted spoon and gently move then around after 1 minute.  Let poach 2-3 minutes depending on how you like your yolk.  (my whites were done, and yolks hot but runny, YUM)  Toward the end of 2 minutes you can tenderly touch the whites and yolks to tell how done they are.  When they are done, remove onto a paper towel to sit until you are ready for them.  I am sure this may not be some chef approved method, but it is mine and you see how my eggs turned out.  It works every single stinkin time!

Poached eggs on top

When sandwiches are grilled to your liking, plate each one.  Gently lift the egg(s) to sit on the top.  Take your bechamel and spoon it over the top.  Serve. 

These are delicious and I suggest gruyere cheese or maybe swiss.  These cook quickly so make sure everyone is at the table and ready to go before you completely finish.  You might need to heat up your bechamel a little bit. Make sure to cover it and it just depends on how fast you work!!

I hope you enjoy this French twist to your breakfast.  It is a very rich dish.  Just one of those once in a while things, that makes you feel warm and cozy inside!  

Au revoir
Your "frenchie" chefwannabe

I had to cut it open for you!
PS.  I feel like these directions might be hard to understand but I know most of you will realize my scatter brain couldn't type it in as organized of a manner as I thought it! :)


  1. My husband loves croque madame! I hadn't thought of making that in a while. I've always struggled with the bechamel sauce but maybe it's time to try it again.

  2. I hope you tried it by now!! I am sorry I missed your commment!!!