Croque Monsieur is a hot ham and cheese sandwich, made the French way! Béchamel sauce, ham and cheese, and a bit of Dijon mustard, all grilled until the golden color you love, this sandwich is the king of grilled cheeses! Look away if you’re on a diet: This recipe calls for not one, not two, but three different types of cheese. If we have to do this, let’s start everything and do it right! This is our best croque monsieur recipe to enjoy in the fall.
What you need for Croque Monsieur
Here’s what you need to make a Croque Monsieur. Yes, it’s more than just bread, ham, and cheese.
Croque Monsieur Recipe: Béchamel Sauce
Cream and fresh milk – you can replace the cream with more milk if you like, but this will reduce the richness of the béchamel! Rich = Good… Butter & Flour – Our roux base thickens the béchamel sauce. Nutmeg and pepper – a touch of spice for béchamel. A touch of nutmeg nicely complements the sauce.
the same sandwich
And here’s what we need for the rest of the Croque Monsieur team:
Pork – preferably smoked, but any pork will do. Gruyère and Swiss cheese – the main cheeses! Gruyere has a nice sweet and nutty flavor and melts well, making it an ideal choice for Croque Monsieur. “Swiss cheese” is a generic name for mass-produced cheeses similar to Alpine cheese, especially the milder Emmental cheese. We use it here because it comes in slices for sandwiches, and it’s also cheaper than real cheese.
Feel free to use only Swiss cheese, or only Gruyère (or other alpine cheeses, such as Comté or Emmental) – or a mixture! It all depends on your budget, what you have and what you like. Parmesan – Alpine cheese is relatively mild, so Parmesan enhances flavor and saltiness as desired, and gives the Croque Monsieur a wonderfully crisp golden crown;
Dijon mustard – great in any ham and cheese sandwich, and more! It imparts a welcoming spice flavor and another layer of flavor to your sandwich. Butter – Brush the Croque Monsieur with butter before baking it! Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan until hot. This makes incorporating it into the flour and butter mixture easier and smoother, which is especially important in this sauce because it is very thick;
Roux – Make the roux by melting the butter, then adding the flour and cooking over low heat for 3 minutes to remove the raw flour. Do not let the mixture turn golden. We want a white bechamel sauce. Add Hot Milk – Pour in half of the hot milk mixture, stirring constantly. Once the milk is incorporated into the roux, add the rest of the milk mixture and stir until combined.
Thick – Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is very thick you can spread with a spoon. This will only take about a minute, since the ratio of flour to milk in this bechamel is higher than usual, so it can be spread rather than poured.
When you’re done, take it off the heat and set it aside until you need it. It’s okay to let the béchamel sauce cool. It will get thicker while still being spreadable, and it will warm up when you cook Croque Monsieur in the skillet or in the oven.
Croque Monsieur recipe – assembly
Cover a slice of untoasted white bread with béchamel sauce. Place two pieces of cheese on top, folding them as needed. Then spread the cheese with Dijon mustard. I know it’s unusual to rub mustard on cheese, but there’s a good reason: If you rub it on bread, it mixes with the béchamel sauce and you can’t taste it! Layer on ham, then spread with more Dijon mustard. Cover it with another layer of cheese. Spread the béchamel on another piece of bread, then close the sandwich.
You’ve been told there are a few more steps to take than a regular grilled cheese or ham sandwich and it’s worth it! Cook the sandwich in a skillet with melted butter. Place the toasted sandwich on a tray and cover with the rest of the béchamel sauce, sprinkle with Gruyere cheese, then Parmesan cheese.