When I was in France about 10 years ago, I was first introduced to the Croque Monsieur and couldn't get enough. It's a simple enough sandwich - basically a grilled ham & cheese. I've had several different ones throughout the years at French restaurants in my area, and while good, nothing really compared to the sandwiches I had in France. So, when I found this Ina Garten recipe, I had a hunch it would be good. And Ina didn't let me down. It was everything I remembered the sandwich being.
Recipe from Ina Garten, adapted
Prep Time - 5-10 min
Cook Time - 25 min
2 TBSP butter
3 TBSP flour
2 cups hot milk (not skim)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
6 oz grated Gruyere cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
4 slices white bread (thicker is generally better)
mustard (we used regular but Dijon is traditional
4-6 slices deli ham
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Melt the butter over low heat and add the flour and stir till combined. Stir constantly for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the mixture and whisk constantly until the sauce begins to thicken.
Remove from heat and add the salt, pepper, 1/2 cup of Gruyere, and the Parmesan. Whisk until combined and set aside.
Toast the bread by placing it on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Turn over each slice and bake for another 2 minutes.
Lightly brush two of the slices with mustard. Add about 2 slices of ham to each (maybe 3 if your bread is thick. Put a couple tablespoons of the cheese sauce on top of the ham and sprinkle with the grated Gruyere (about 1/4 of the total remaining on each). Top with another piece of toasted bread.
Slather the tops of the bread with the cheese sauce and then put the remaining Gruyere at the top (NOTE - You will have cheese sauce left over. I used my leftovers to make a really delicious mac & cheese). Bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and bake for another 3 minutes. Serve hot.