A fried ham and cheese sandwich in France is called a croque monsieur. Add a fried egg to the top of the sandwich and it becomes a croque madame. (It's said that the shape of the egg looked like the hats French women used to wear.)
Usually my posts are inspired by Pinterest, but today this post is inspired my my recent trip to Paris and my luscious new cookbook, My Paris Kitchen. I guess this can't be called a real croque monsieur because I didn't follow the recipe exactly. So, let's just say this is my version of a croque monsieur. I didn't use authentic French cheese like Comte or Gruyere (I used Swiss), I didn't use French bread (I used sourdough) and I didn't use bechamel sauce to coat the bread before frying it (I just used lots of butter!) But one of the fun things about cooking, is tasting of course, and also deviating from the recipe and seeing what happens. In this case, something pretty tasty happened.
There's nothing better than biting into a toasty warm sandwich with buttery, crispy bread oozing with melty creamy cheese and salty ham. Mmmmm . . .
You want one now don't you? You're in luck because I'm sharing the recipe along with some tips to make your sandwich perfect.
-The sandwich is only as good as the ingredients. To make a really good ham and cheese sandwich use the best ingredients you can find.
-Use room temperature butter, rather than cold butter right out of the fridge. It makes it easier to spread.
-Placing a lid over the skillet while the sandwich is cooking helps to heat it all the way through and really melt the cheese.
Don't be afraid to change this very basic recipe to suite your tastes. Experiment with different types of breads and cheeses.
2 slices of sourdough bread
4 slices of Swiss cheese
3 slices of ham
2 Tablespoons of butter
1. Using room temperature butter, melt one tablespoon of butter in the skillet and liberally spread one tablespoon of butter on one side of each slice of bread.
2. Place bread butter side down in skillet. Add a layer of cheese, a layer of ham, and another layer of cheese. Top with another piece of bread, butter side up.
3. Cook over medium heat approximately 3-5 minutes or until bread is lightly browned. With a spatula, flip the sandwich to brown the other side. Place a lid over the skillet to heat the sandwich all the way through and completely melt the cheese.