Croque Madame

Portland is known for it’s luxurious brunch scene. One of the staples of Portland brunch restaurants is the Croque Madame. A delicious and luxurious French take on a cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top. Instead of cheese you make a rich Mornay sauce and toast the whole thing. With most of the restaurants closed down you of course can’t have a luxurious morning brunch out and about. So, I decided to try to make one at home.

2 Slices Hearty Sandwich Bread
1 Tbs Butter
1 Tbs Flour
3/4 Cup Milk
Salt and Pepper
pinch Nutmeg
6 oz grated Gruyere Cheese plus a little extra
3 oz Parmesan
1/4-1/2 Lbs smoked ham.
2 eggs (optional)

Start by setting the broiler rack to the second highest point. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with non-stick spray (this is important because the bread will stick and ruin the sandwich otherwise). Turn the broiler to it’s highest setting and use it to toast the bread.

While the bread is toasting. Make the mornay sauce. Make a roux using the butter and flour in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Be careful because roux can get incredibly hot. Slowly whisk in the milk to make sure it doesn’t form lumps. You may want to adjust the amount of milk until it reaches your preferred consistency, but remember it will thicken up a lot when it cools. You do want it on the thicker side too. When it’s still warm add the cheeses reserving some of the Gruyere for later, season with salt and pepper and nutmeg.

When the sauce is done and the bread toasted, you can construct the sandwich. Start with a thick layer of sauce on each slice of bread. Layer up some ham on one slice and close the sandwich. On top add more sauce, make sure to cover every part of the bread on top is covered in sauce or it will burn under the broiler. Sprinkle the leftover Gruyere on top.

When it’s all assembled put it under the broiler. Broil until the cheese on top is golden brown but not burnt. You may have to turn it a few times to avoid heat spots. While it’s broiling, fry up some eggs if desired. Place eggs on top before cutting in half. Serve immediately.

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