Croque Madame is the feminine version of the classic Croque Monsieur. It's a little time-consuming, but it's well worth it if you have the time.
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more for eggs
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- Kosher or sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 8 thick slices sourdough or French bread
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 8 ounces sliced gruyere cheese
- 8 ounces deli-sliced ham
- 4 large eggs
- Fresh thyme, for garnish (optional)
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in small saucepan over medium heat, until foamy. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. While continuing to whisk, slowly pour in milk. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until
mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove bechamel sauce from heat.
- Heat oven to broil.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Place 2 slices of bread in skillet and spread thin layer of mustard on one side of each slice of bread. Top with layer of gruyere cheese and 2 to 3 slices of ham. Spread a few tablespoons of bechamel sauce over ham, then top with another layer of cheese. Coat 2 more slices of bread with mustard and place on top of sandwiches. When bottom slice is golden brown, carefully flip sandwiches and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and repeat with remaining butter, bread, ham and cheese.
- Top each sandwich with remaining bechamel sauce and cheese. Place sandwiches under broiler for 3 to 5 minutes, until top is golden-brown.
- Meanwhile, melt 1 to 2 tablespoons butter in nonstick skillet over medium heat and fry eggs to desired doneness, seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste. Top sandwiches with eggs and serve immediately. Garnish with fresh thyme.
Yield: 4 servings | Prep: 5 min | Cook: 20 min