Baked Croque Monsieur
Croque Monsieur, a Continental cross between French toast and grilled ham-and-cheese, feeds a crowd when you bake it, casserole-style, in the oven.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
- 16 (1/2 inch) slices pain de mie or other fine-grained white bread
- 1/4 cup Dijon-style mustard (optional)
- 3/4 pound sliced or grated cheese (Gruyere, Swiss, or cheddar)
- 3/4 pound sliced ham
- 1 medium-small onion, thinly sliced
- 6 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence (or the mixed dried herbs of your choice)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups Panko (Japanese-style coarse bread crumbs), or coarse homemade dried bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/4 cup grated cheese: Parmesan, Gruyere or Cheddar
- Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
- Remove the crust from the bread, if you wish.
- For firmer texture, toast the slices.
- Spread eight of the slices of bread with the mustard.
- Place them into the greased baking dish, mustard side up, cutting slices in half, as necessary, to completely cover the bottom of the pan.
- Top with half the cheese; the ham, sliced onion, and the remaining cheese; and the remaining bread.
- Press the sandwiches together.
- Beat the eggs, milk, and seasonings together.
- Pour slowly over the bread.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator for several hours, or overnight.
- About 1 hour before serving, heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Mix the bread crumbs with the melted butter and grated cheese.
- Sprinkle over the sandwiches.
- Bake for 42 to 48 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the eggs set.
- Remove from the oven, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.