So, I’m watching the DVD of “It’s Complicated,” with Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin (a movie I recommend, by the way), in which Streep’s character, Jane, owns a bakery-cafe. She’s making dinner for Adam the architect (Martin) and serving Croque Monsieur, the classic French hot ham and cheese sandwich. Adam’s telling her how delicious they are and I’m sitting there thinking, “It’s been forever since I had a Croque Monsieur.”
So the next day I whipped up some, and they’re just as delicious as I remember. While there are quite a few variations on this bistro classic, I prefer my Croque Monsieur close to the original: ham and cheese on good bread, generously buttered and broiled until crisp. Sheer heaven. As a bonus, this is just about the easiest dinner you can make.
Serve these with a simple salad. I made a salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and baby greens, tossed with a red wine vinaigrette.
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon herbes de Provence or other dried leaf herbs of your choice (tarragon, basil, sage, etc.), to taste
- 8 slices good bread
- 4 ounces top-quality baked ham, thinly sliced
- 2 cups grated Gruyere or other Swiss cheese
- ¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- Preheat the broiler on “low.”
- In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, mayonnaise and herbs. Place 4 of the bread slices on an ungreased baking sheet, and spread the mustard-mayonnaise evenly over them. Top with the ham and sprinkle ½ cup cheese over each bread slice. Top with the remaining bread slices. Using 1 tablespoon butter per sandwich, spread both sides of each sandwich with butter.
- Broil for 5 minutes, then turn and sprinkle the sandwiches with the grated Parmesan. Broil another 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sandwiches are golden and crisp. Serve immediately.