Directly translated croque monsieur is “crunch mister”. If this very popular French sandwich, which is often associated with street fare, is prepared correctly, you’ll be biting into very crispy and buttery toasted bread with a delicious melted Gruyere or Emmenthal cheese and smoky ham filling. This is not just a ham and cheese sandwich, oh no, it gets a smooth bchamel sauce over the top, that can be browned under the grill or left plain. In some parts of France the sauce is also spread on the inside of the sandwich with the cheese and ham, then toasted and still spread with sauce over the top too! I’ve hadit few times with the sauce inside and on top and if you’re not counting calories, it is the best way to enjoy this sandwich!
There are quite a few variation on the sandwich, all with beautiful French names. When an egg is added on top of a croque monsieur, it becomes a croque madame, because the egg is supposed to resemble a ladie’s hat.If you add tomatoes to the filling, it is known as a croque Provenale. In Normandy you’ll get a sandwich with camembert, apple and ham, known as a croque Normande and if you prepare the sandwich with smoked salmon and Gruyere it’s known as a croque norvgien. Add blue cheese and you have a croque auvergnat or you canadd pineapple for a croque Hawaiian. You’ll even find this famous sandwich ad McDonalds in France as “Croque McDo”!
In the movie It’s Complicated, Merryl Streep prepares croque monsieurs for her and Steve Martin for dinner and serves it with salad. Try them at home when you have friends over, they’ll be very impressed. Prepare a proper bchamel and make use of good quality sourdough bread. There’ll be no regrets!