Friday, August 13, 2010

Bouchon Croque Madame

As you undoubtedly know, a Croque Monsieur is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. I don't know why it's called Croque Monsieur specifically, I mean, Madamoiselles and an occasional Madame might get a hankering for a grilled ham and cheese. I know I do. But we won't attempt to solve these mysteries today. A Croque Madame is like a Croque Monsieur on steroids  Lipitor. It's a grilled ham and swiss topped with a fried egg and Mornay sauce. It's the recipe Byron picked out when he and Liz visited for my birthday. Good job Byron!

Let's start with the bread. We are instructed to use Brioche or other egg based bread or Pain de Mie. Jim went to Whole Foods to pick up the ham and bread and came home with this:

When I was expecting something shaped more like a loaf and less like, say, a mushroom. So I made a trip to Alon's (a fine local bakery and gourmet food shop) and got these two: Brioche and Pain de Mie. Pain is bread and Mie is crumb- you figure it out.

Preheat your oven to 375. After slicing your bread,  place 2 oz (more or less) of ham on the slice, and don't you dare let any hang over the sides! Next place 1/2 ounce of swiss cheese on top of the slice. We made one with brioche and one with the pain de mie.

As you can see, L'escoffier police will be coming for me soon because my ham was hanging all over the bread. But it had been a long HOT day, so that's my excuse. Next, you melt 1 T unsalted butter in an oven proof nonstick pan and place the sandwiches (cheese side up - duh) in the pan to grill the bread. Once it is sufficiently browned, place the pan in the preheated oven to melt the cheese.

 I read this recipe over and over and never saw what happened to the top piece of bread. I had WSH read it and he said it must be open faced, then I showed him the picture. The instructions are either missing or so obtuse in the discussion of the number and types of pans you need they are unclear. ... sometimes I wish I was a cookbook editor. Anyway, this isn't rocket science. I heated another T of butter and browned the matching bread slices. When the cheese was melted I placed the "tops" on the sandwiches.

Next melt another T of butter in another ovenproof nonstick pan and when medium hot crack your eggs in. Cook until the bottoms are set then remove the pan to the oven to finish cooking until the whites are set.
When the eggs are done slide them on top of the finished sandwich. Ladel about 1/4 c of Mornay sauce on the whites of the eggs and over the sandwich without touching the yolk. Grind some fresh pepper on top and garnish with chopped herbs. I used chives, you could also use parsley.

The Bouchon cookbook suggests serving with french fries but having just celebrated my 55th that seemed like piling on. Obviously this is a knife and fork sandwich. It was very good. The mornay sauce (link to previous post with recipe) made it more than a sandwich, it was an elegant meal. Very rich and very delicious. We preferred the Pain de Mie because the Brioche added a slight sweetness that we felt wasn't necessary, but both were very good.

Other than the excursions to find the "correct" bread this was as short a Keller recipe as I've done.

See you soon!

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