Croque Monsieur

Croque Monsieur

Croque Monsieur is a lovely French-style light lunch sandwich. Traditionally made with lovely ham and cheese such as Emmental or Gruyère cheese, this I would say is a perfect option for a Lunch menu for a café or a coffee shop. While working at Blue Gum Country Estate,  just outside Stanford, I was introduced to this wonderful lunch item on our menu. This delicious Croque Monsieur sandwich, an “upper class” sandwich in my eyes, can be made with normal buttered bread, baked bread (to make it extra special) – but the crusts must be soft- or for a lady like idea, it can also be made with a croissant. In my opinion, the Gruyère cheese is definitely my favourite choice of cheese to use. Back then at Bluegum Estate, we had Kleinrivier cheeses just around the corner, which Gruyère cheese, as well as more choices we used for the daily evening cheese platters that went to the rooms. As a ham choice, I would strongly recommend a smoked ham (to give it more flavour) or Hickory ham. French ham is of course the best choice. Cooked ham is best, but not cured ham. It makes it way too salty. It is also great if you have a kitchen salamander, or a similar type of griller to grill the Croque Monsieur on, which you can off course see and to take out once good grilled on top. If using an oven for the grilling, make sure you keep an eye, you don’t want it to get too dark or even burn on top. And another good reason to love the French for their part of food history! Enjoy Apple Tarte Tartin afterwards.

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Serves: 2 Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 10 Minutes Ready in: 30 Minutes

Nutrition: Calories 543 Carbs: 26g Protein: 19g Fat: 41g

75 ml milk
50 g cake flour
40 g butter
1 teaspoon mustard
grated Emmental or Gruyère cheese (½ cup will do)
a pinch of salt
a pinch of pepper
a pinch of cayenne pepper (or more to your taste)
3 egg whites whisked until soft peaks
2-4 slices of bread, baked, or two croissants
approximately 5-7.5 ml wholegrain mustard per sandwich
Hickory or a good quality of smoked ham to cover the sandwiches or croissants
Make a thick white sauce by melting the butter on low heat.
Add the flour and whisk well.
Slowly add the milk and keep on whisking to prevent the white sauce from forming lumps.
The end result must be a thick white sauce.
Add a teaspoon mustard Dijon) and mix well.
Then add the salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.
Whisk the 3 egg whites until soft peaks and gently fold it into the white sauce mixture.
Toast 2 slices of bread only on the one side (this is why it is useful to toast it on a salamander.
On the side that is NOT toasted: butter the slice and then add the wholegrain mustard on top, followed by the slice (or two) of the ham on top.
Place the second slice of bread last, the toasted side facing upwards.
Last, add the Croque Monsieur white sauce mixture on top to cover and grill until light brown under the salamander.
Serve with a delicious, fresh side salad for either brunch, lunch or a light supper.
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