|Beautiful Paris, Photo: NK|
|A day trip to Brittany and the Abbey of Mont St. Michel, Photo: NK|
|Three days in the countryside - Amboise, Loire Valley, Photo: NK|
Between touring the City of Light and chateau and vineyard hopping the in gorgeous Loire Valley countryside, we enjoyed several very special meals.
|Crab, Scallop and Mango Tart in Amboise, Photo: NK|
|Amazing Oysters at Huitrerie Regis, Paris, Photo: NK|
|Decadent Roast Chicken in Pastry over Black Rice at Restaurant Mariette, Paris, NK|
|Profiteroles at the amazing Les Closeaux just outside of Amboise, Photo: NK|
Clearly, France offered no shortage of culinary inspiration, so when we got home, I had the urge to try to make something really simple yet classically French. Croque Monsieur seemed like just the thing.
Croque Monsieur is basically a toasted ham and cheese made all the more sinful by the addition of a creamy sauce and grated gruyere topping. Below, I've adapted Martha Stewart's recipe just a bit. The result was gooey, delicious, and decidedly not diet. Enjoy and bon appetit!
Classic Croque Monsieur
Adapted from Martha Stewart
3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
2 Cups of Whole Milk
1 Cup Grated Gruyere Cheese plus 8 Slices of Thinly Sliced Gruyere
Kosher Salt to Taste
8 Slices Country Style White Bread - we used Arnold brand
6 Ounces French Bistro Ham Cold cuts or other cold cut Ham
Preheat the oven to 450 and set a rack in the middle and a rack near the broiler.
Toast the 4 Slices of Bread. Don't worry if they are extra crunchy. It will make for a nice texture later. Leave the oven on.
Butter a baking sheet and set aside.
Next, set two medium sauce pans on the stove.
In one, melt Butter over medium-high heat. Gradually stir in the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture bubbles up. Continue whisking for about 3 minutes. The mixture will take on a golden peanut butter color. Turn off the heat and set aside.
|Butter and Flour Mixture, Photo: NK|
Next, lay 4 slices of Toast down on a work surface.
Cover each slice with about a Quarter Cup of Cheese Sauce.
|Toasts with Cheese Sauce, Photo: NK|
To assemble the sandwich, lay one slice of Gruyere on top of the sauce, followed by a slice to a slice and a half of Ham. Top Ham with another slice of Gruyere, and top each sandwich with the remaining slices of toast. Press lightly to close the sandwich. Pour another Quarter Cup of Sauce on top of each sandwich and sprinkle them all with the remaining Grated Gruyere.
|Assembled Croque Monsieur ready to bake, Photo: NK|
Place sandwiches on the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 5 minutes until cooked through.
Turn on the broiler and finish sandwiches for another 2 to 3 minutes under the broiler until the tops become golden brown and bubbly. Serve immediately.
|Voila! Finished Croque Monsieur, Photo: NK|