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what makes a Croque Monsieur? [moved from Home Cooking board]

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I had one theother day in a belgium restaurant and it was basically a grilled ham and chees sandwhich. Whem my mom used to make them for me they were grilled cheese and ham dipped in egg as like french toast and then cooked

what is the real thing?

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  1. The egg dipped is a croque monsieur... also should have brown mustard on the inside.

    6 Replies
    1. re: tacostacoseverywhere

      Actually the sandwich with the egg is called a "Croque Madame."

      To respond to the OP..... A traditional Croque Monsieur has thinly sliced ham, Gruyere cheese, Bechamel sauce, Dijon mustard, French bread.
      The components of the sandwich are layered between buttered slices of bread then the whole sandwich is toasted in a frying pan with melted butter. There are Croque Monsieur sandwich presses that can be used instead of the fry pan.

      1. re: Gio

        Actually a Croques Madame has a fried egg on top of the sandwich. OP meant her mom dipped the bread in a beaten egg when making Croques Monsieur. I have heard of it made this way before, however, it is not the "proper" way to make a Croques Monsieur. The method Gio mentions is more of a traditional CM, though I don't think they go in a sandwich press, I have only ever seen them baked.
        This is the recipe I have used by Jacques Pepin and Julia Child...
        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

        1. re: SweetPea914

          Julia has several varations on the theme of the tradiditional CM. In one she uses mozzarella, of all things. I remember her PBS show on the CM, and in her wonderful vocal vibrato proclaimed the Croque Monsieur the king of sandwiches. It seems to me that she used a simple sandwich press - not the panini press we're used to seeing now-a-days, tho

          1. re: Gio

            I definitely agree that it is most likely one of those things with different variations. Mozzarella does indeed sound a bit unusual for a French sandwich! With all this talk bout CM I think I'll need to make one for lunch!

            1. re: SweetPea914

              I know, odd!!.... here's the link to the Boston Globe article about Julia's updated mozz CM:
              http://tinyurl.com/yq4afh

              Nice photo of her, too.

          2. re: SweetPea914

            gio-- what she said. believe me, i'm aware of the difference between those two sammies. virtually everytime i've seen a croque monsieur it has been dipped in egg like pain perdu, then sauteed. croque madames have both an egg, and sometimes hollandaise (if you feel like getting totally heart healthy) as an accompaniment.

      2. When I've had them they usually have cheese or toasted cheese sauce on the top too, and are meant to be eaten with a knife and fork. But yes, essentially a baked ham and cheese. I don't think they are usually dipped in a batter, but they are also usually softer than a typical soaked-in-butter American-style grilled cheese sandwich. So make toast, put ham and cheese in between with either mustard or butter, bake or grill until hot, top with cheese or cheese sauce, broil that until melty and a crust (croque) forms and eat.

        1. Hi, it may not be completely traditional, but I do enjoy the type of croque monsieur they serve at L'Express (corner of 20th and Park Avenue South). This is (I believe) ham, gruyere, swiss, and a bechamel sauce between two pieces of bread (probably slices of a french Boule) The mixture is then dredged through a bit of egg and a lot of grated cheese (not sure what type of cheese, though it tastes pretty sharp, I might even say parmigiano, but I'm not sure). Then it's pan seared to create a crusty cheesy outside. Then I have the dijon mustard on the side. Really lovely.

          1. after having my frist croque madame at a little patisserie by an alsatian baker... i tend to veer towards his component selection.

            slice of brioche, spread a thick layer of bechamel, paris ham, swiss/emmenthal. i put two layers of this and an extra piece of brioche into the oven/toaster oven and let broil until melty and neary good crustiness and then layer up. croque monsieur. but we're gluttons and put on a very yolky fried egg to make it a madame.

            from the sounds of it... the battering with the egg makes it closer to a monte cristo, which is suspected to be an american version of the croque monsieur.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Cr...

            1. As far as I know, a croque-monsieur CAN be dipped in egg like French toast, but it's not necessary.

              A croque-madame has a fried egg on top, as mentioned by others.

              1. Ham and cheese sandwiches between slices of french toast are monte cristos. That's such a taste of my childhood.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Megiac

                  A monte cristo also also has turkey and is topped with powdered sugar.

                  Croque monsier has ham, gruyere/swiss and bechamel on the inside of two slices of bread which are buttered and fried. I like to take it the extra step and add more cheese to the top and then briol.

                2. The recipe I got from Williams-Sonoma doesn't call for dipping the bread in the egg mixture ala french toast. That and the version I had at the Girl & the Fig at Sonoma is more an open faced sandwich - you don't press the slices of bread together.

                  So basically it's brioche, ham, bechamel sauce, grated gruyere layers, in that order. We usually add egg on top - love the runny yolk all over.

                  Kind of reminds me in some way to our other favorite breakfast food - eggs benedict (english muffin, canadian bacon, poached egg, hollandise).

                  1. This sounds more like a montechristo, minus the turkey.
                    The croque-monsieurs from my childhood consisted of ham, gruyere and bechamel sauce layered between toasted slices of white bread, more bechamel and cheese on top of it, then broiled until golden.
                    Croque-madame differs according to where you are in France. In some regions, it's a croque-monsieur with a sunny side up on top, in others it's a croque monsieur where the ham is replaced by a thinly sliced hot dog or frank.

                    1. This was an interesting discussion to read. I never realized there were so many variaitions. For a brunch crowd, I'll make it a crosque monsieur casserole where I take (hamd and gruyere) sandwiches, put it in a buttered 9x13 pan, pour the egg mixture over and let it sit overnight and then bake--kind of a strata idea. Quick and easy when you're having a lot of people over.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: chowser

                        Chowser, do you use mustard inside the sandwich? I'm going to try your casserole very soon. Sounds like just the thing for a Football Sunday!

                        1. re: Gio

                          No, but that sounds like a good addition. I will add a little maple syrup to the egg mixture sometimes so it's slightly sweet w/ the saltiness of the ham. I love things that can be made ahead so I can enjoy the company.

                          1. re: chowser

                            Oh, me too.......
                            Interesting about the maple syrup. I never would have thought to add it to an egg mixture. Many thanks!