It's no secret that I love to indulge in comfort food. Mac & cheese? Yes, please. Buttermilk biscuits? You betcha. Croque-madame? Le duh. Croque-madame is basically a grilled ham & cheese sandwich tucked in a bed of béchamel and topped with a fried egg.
The first time I had a croque-madame was at one of my favorite trendy restaurants down the road from LACMA a few years ago. It's not a very common menu item, so I went to a few different French restaurants and finally came up with my own recipe so I can have it whenever I want. Instead of white bread, I use a rustic bread, and instead of Black Forest ham, I use prosciutto. In the end, this croque-madame is wonderfully cheesy, creamy, and buttery. What's not to love?
4 tablespoons butter (I prefer Kerry Gold)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups grated Gruyère cheese
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
4 organic eggs
8 slices rustic bread
½ pound thinly sliced prosciutto
4 teaspoons dijon mustard
In a saucepan, melt 3 tablespoon butter on very low heat. Add flour and whisk the roux for 3-4 minutes. Add milk and bring to a boil while whisking. Lower heat and bring to a simmer. Continue to wish for another 4-5 minutes. Add in pepper, nutmeg, salt, and ½ cup of gruyere. Continue to whisk until the cheese melts. Remove sauce from heat, cover, and set aside.
Spread dijon mustard on 4 slices of bread. On the other 4 slices of bread, spread 1-2 tablespoons of béchamel sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Add prosciutto and top with mustard slices.
On low heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a nonstick pan. Cook sandwiches until golden on both sides. Put sandwiches in a baking pan and spread ⅓-1/2 cup béchamel sauce on top of each sandwich. Put sandwiches in broiler for 5 minutes, allowing the sauce to brown and bubble. Around the 2 minute mark, butter the previously used pan on medium heat. Crack and fry eggs in pan for 2-3 minutes, allowing the yolks to remain runny. Remove sandwiches from broiler, plate, and top with fried eggs.
Top with fresh cracked pepper and enjoy.
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