Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Food Mood: Croque Monsieur vs. Croque Madame

If you visit Paris on a budget, the Croques are the most affordable food for you, except for the Turkish or Moroccan hole-in-the-walls. The average price is 6 euros. This basically very simple, popular food imbued with the French influence brought by the Bechamel sauce is a favorite among both locals and foreign tourists. But what's the difference between these two?

Croque Monsieur. (c) Premshree Pillai via Flickr.

Croque Monsieur (crunchy mister) is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich which is mainly served in cafes, bars, and bistros. The most elaborated versions of this simple but delicious sandwich come coated in Bechamel sauce. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients (for one person):
  • two slices of sandwich bread
  • two slices of ham
  • one slice of Gruyere cheese
  • Gruyere cheese (grated, 2 spoons)
  • Parmesan cheese (grated, 1 spoon)
  • Dijon mustard (1tsp)
  • Bechamel sauce (2 spoons) - 1 spoon unsalted butter, 1 1/2 spoon all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp salt, a pinch of ground black pepper, Parmesan and Gruyere - 1 spoon each, a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg.
Toast the two slices of bred until brownish, then brush both of them with the mustard and sprinkle them with the Gruyere cheese, then add the two slices of ham a the slice of cheese between them. Slather the tops with the Bechamel sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwich for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot with fresh lettuce on the side. 

Croque Madame (crunchy lady) is a Croque Monsieur topped with a poached or a sunny-side-up egg. That simple, but equally delicious!
Croque Madam (c) Angermann via Flickr.
Bon appetit! And a recommended dessert: a long walk to shake off the calories :). Best croque monsieurs in Paris here.

(c) mrdestructcity via Flickr.
(c) adrigu via Flickr.

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