There is something so simple comforting about a ham and cheese sandwich but this time of year I love to take the simple things and elevate them. I’m jazzing up a simple ham and cheese sandwich to a delicious, fancy and yet simple Croque Monsieur. I’ve teamed up with my friends at Emmi USA to share this Croque Monsieur using their incredible Emmi Gruyère for an unbelievable sandwich!
Croque Monsieur, you might have already guessed it but this lovely sandwich comes from France. It is a hot ham and cheese sandwich that became popular in cafe throughout Paris. A lot can be deciphered from the name itself, croque translates “to crunch” and the word monsieur, “mister”. A formal crunchy sandwich perfect to enjoy for lunch or mini-sized as little appetizers.
When creating any recipe, quality ingredients are key. Especially when a dish has so few. Cheese is one of the stars of this dish and using a high quality cheese, such as Emmi Gruyère is highly encouraged. I use Emmi Gruyère when I want to upgrade a recipe such as this one.
This cheese on its own is UNBELIEVABLE and perfect for a snacking board, but it also really gives this Croque Monsieur a level of elegance and depth for the perfect bite. Emmi Gruyère cheese is crafted in Switzerland where they have been using the same recipe for more than 900 years.
Bread – Simplicity in bread is best for this recipe. I like to use a hearty white bread – letting the ingredients shine through.
Emmi GruyèreCheese – Delicious, tangy Emmi Gruyère is the perfect cheese for this dish. It allows the flavors to come through and all meld together.
Ham – A thin sliced, high-quality ham is best for this recipe. Ask your deli to slice thin when ordering.
Béchamel Sauce – Béchamel sauce is a white sauce that is created by using flour, butter and milk. This sauce is what set this sandwich apart from others. We’re going to make it even better by adding in some Emmi Gruyère cheese.
Pantry Seasonings – We’re going to be adding some pantry seasonings to our dish including: butter salt, pepper, nutmeg, herbes de provence and mustard.
Preparing GruyèreBéchamel Sauce
Making béchamel is much easier than it sounds. It’s the sauce of choice for my family and used in many of our pasta dishes, including both a traditional macaroni and cheese and this Lebanese version of macaroni and cheese. A few simple ingredients and steps and you can have this sauce made and on hand when you need it.
Melt butter – Melt your butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan on medium-high heat.
Add Flour – Add your flour and begin whisking into your butter until heated and starts to slightly bubble, 2-3 minutes – this is your roux.
Add Milk – Gradually add in your milk, begin slowly and whisk to incorporate into your roux, continue adding and whisking until fully incorporated.
Whisk – Continue whisking your roux and milk mixture continuously until your mixture begins to thicken. You’ll know it’s thick when it coats the back of a spoon.
Add Cheese – Add in 1/2 cup of grated Emmi Gruyère.
Season – Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, herbes de provence and a touch of dijon mustard.
Pro Tip: Make your Béchamel Sauce ahead, cover with plastic wrap (be sure to have wrap touching sauce to avoid a film) and pop into fridge. Pull out to use when ready to assemble sandwiches as a spread.
Assembling your Croque Monsieur
If you’re making one sandwich you can certainly do all of this in a single frying pan. For a family of 5 or if you’re entertaining, I love doing it simply on a sheet pan in the oven. It definitely speeds things up and gives me perfect results!
Line your sheet pan – I’m all about easy cleanup, grab a sheet of parchment paper or foil and line your sheet pan.
Bread – Butter one of side of your bread and lay facing up (you’ll butter the other side once after this side is toasted).
Bake – We’re going to toast the first side of our bread, flip then do the otherside before adding the rest of our ingredients.
Assemble – Once both sides of your bread are toasted, spread a layer of your cheese béchamel sauce, add Emmi Gruyère cheese and a slice of ham. Top with 2nd half of bread, spread another thin layer of béchamel sauce and Emmi Gruyère cheese.
Bake – Bake for 5 minutes and then broil for another 3-5 minutes until tops are bubbly and and lightly browned. Sprinkle with herbes de provence. Serve warm.
Add an egg – Yes, add a sunnyside or poached egg to the top of sandwich and you’ve just made a Croque Madame.
Skip the Béchamel – Short on time? Skip the béchamel and spread a smear of dijon mustard and crème fraîche. Extra Emmi Gruyère for sure!
Omit the Butter – You can always simply toast the bread before assembling omitting the butter if you choose. I personally love the added hint of salty butter to my sandwich!
Cosette’s Kitchen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.