My two versions of this classic French café/bistro sandwich - oven baked for large quantities and ease.......or, the traditional frying pan/skillet method! You can always rely upon the French to add a certain "je ne sais quoi" to even the simplest food ...including the humble cheese and ham sandwich. The croque-monsieur (which becomes a croque-madame if you top it with a fried egg) is a great favourite in French cafés & bistros, and there are as many methods of crafting it as there are cafés! This one works for me. But, please be warned ... it's not for calorie-counters, the Cholesterol Police or those of a nervous disposition!!
- Spread the bread with some of the softened butter, make 4 sandwiches, each with one slice of ham and one slice of cheese. Press them firmly together.
- Beat the eggs with the water, add the salt and pepper to taste, and dip the sandwiches into the egg mixture, coating all sides well.
- Heat the rest of the butter in a heavy- bottomed frying pan/skillet, when it has melted and is very hot - but not brown, fry the sandwiches for about 5 - 8 minutes, turning once.
- Serve immediately.
- If you prefer, although it is not traditional, you may place the croque-monsieur into a very well-buttered baking pan and bake in a moderately hot oven - 175°C/350°F - turning once, for about 10 to 15 minutes. It is easier to prepare a larger number this way and keep them warm until you are ready to serve them.
These were absolutely delicious sandwiches !!!! Ham and gruyere go so well together. I cooked it perhaps a few minutes too long or should of cooked on a lower heat in the skillet but they turned out wonderful anyways. Had this with a lovely bowl of soup. This is such a filling sandwich...but oh so yummy. Thanks for sharing your recipe French Tart..always a pleasure doing your recipes.
I'm not giving this stars, because I didn't have gruyere and just used cheese. Plus, I forgot the salt and pepper. Saying that, I did enjoy it. I make this without the egg all the time, but the egg added a little more "heart police" to the mix. Next week, I'm getting a better class of ham, gruyere and will rate it then.
Great sandwich, made and served with French Onion Soup.