Posted by: Josey Lyne Payne, Esq. | June 25, 2010

Croque Monsieur – It’s NOT Complicated

I ♥love♥ Meryl Streep.  I mean really, who doesn’t?  Now, pair her up with the only Baldwin that matters – I mean Alec, of course – ,  add in a story and plot that manage to both deliver ideology and relatable idiosyncracies, not to mention a few belly laughs, and you’ve got a great film.  I’m talking about the new romantic-comedy, It’s Complicated.

Now, don’t you think for one moment, not for one second, that I wasn’t honing in on the food!  Oh, glorious food!  Who in their right mind could turn down that triple layered, double fudged, chocolate cake? – Mary Jane or not – not me!  And the croissants – well, don’t even get me started (although Drin, believe it or not, inspired by my King Arthur Whole Grain Baking book, did manage to make me some pretty damn delicious whole wheat croissants at SoJo’s, so I KNOW they’re incredible when hand formed with l♥ve), but the Croque Monsieur, much like the Bruschetta in Julie & Julia, I haven’t been able to get out of my head.  A French Ham & Cheese, drenched in bechamel, broiled, and served with a green salad, the epitome of It’s NOT complicated.

This, THIS, is what we’ll be having for dinner tonight, followed by a Gourmet – in brand only, I assure you – Strawberry Buttermilk Cake.  Can’t wait to get to making these yummies.  A quick stop at Derby Street Whole Foods Market for some divine Gruyère and crusty bread, a bottle of wine from the shop next door, I’m thinking a Kendall-Jackson Riesling 2007, and we’ll be on our way to a gorgeous, deloosh, summer dinner.  Now I just have to wait for my boss to leave so I can skip out a little early on this lovely summer Friday.  So, I’ll be counting the moments before I can, in my best Alec impersonation, say “OMG, I thought he’d never leave“.  In the meantime, here’s the recipe:

Croque Monsieur
     Inspired by It’s Complicated

Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup whole milk, warmed
salt & pepper, to taste

1 1/2 cups Gruyère, grated, divided
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated and packed
Crusty bread, sliced in 1″ thick slices
8 ounces Black Forest Ham
Dijon Mustard

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Using a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
Slowly add flour, whisking constantly.
Continue cooking and whisking until mixture begins to brown.
Slowly pour in warmed milk while continuing to whisk.
Maintain a light simmer and continuing whisking until sauce starts to thicken.
Add Parmesan and 1/4 cup of the Gruyère, a little at a time, while continuing to whisk.
Add salt & pepper to taste.
Keep warm over low heat.
Lightly toast the bread slices on a baking sheet in the preheated oven, turning once – do not brown, this is more for texture than color.
Spread a very thin layer of the Dijon over each toasted slice.
Add 2 slices of ham to each slice of bread.
Sprinkle each slice with Gruyère cheese, reserving 1/4 cup of the Gruyère.
Spoon Bechamel over each slice.
Top each slice with remaining Gruyère.
Bake for 5 minutes.
Rotate pan, from back to front, and broil, on high, for 3 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.

*photo compliments of sew trashy

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