While traveling in France with my high school french class during the summer of 1984, I fell in love with French food. You could say it was the butter, the cream sauces or even the french bread, but I think it was more about the french kitchen and the french cook.
They were passionate about their food, they loved their kitchen tools, the techniques were perfect and most dishes had the most deliciously sounding titles. The French language is music to my years. Even to this day if I hear it spoken I just want to sit and listen. I don't care that I don't understand much anymore because it reminds me of the time I did spend in France when I could understand a few things.
Many of you know that I write for a local magazine, Capital Style Magazine. For the month of March my assignment was to find family friendly French recipes. I looked to my own family for inspiration. My kids eat a ham and cheese sandwich every single day, sometimes two a day. I go through about 6 pounds of ham a month.
I remembered this sandwich and thought of several things. First it's French. Secondly it can be prepared in a short amount time (family friendly) and thirdly, it can be made the traditional way with white bread or you can substitute gluten free bread or a croissant (pictured above). It is a sandwich that can be altered to fit your dietary needs and still retain some of the original idea.
I know that at Whole Foods you can buy frozen gluten free croissants or attempt to make them from scratch. I found this recipe HERE, although I have not tried them myself.
I will tell you the cheese sauce that goes over the sandwich is heavenly. Smooth, creamy and the right balance of flavors. I had some left over and added it to a bowl of noodles...YUM! Just saying--it's super good.
Enjoy this recipe and I will be posting the other recipes that I shared with the magazine soon, so check back!
Recipe: Croque Monsieurs
Makes 8 sandwiches
Prep and Cook Time: 25 minutes
2 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons flour (I used brown rice flour to make it gluten free)
2 cups of hot milk
2 cups of hot milk
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
12 ounces of Gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
8 croissants or 16 slices of white bread (use gluten free bread if this is an issue for you)
8 ounces of ham, sliced
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Melt butter in a small sauce pan, add flour and stir for 2 minutes. Slowly pour in hot milk and whisk until sauce is thick. Remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of Gruyere cheese and Parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and set aside.
Cut the croissants in half and place on the cookie sheet. Bake for 4 minutes, flip and bake for an additional 2 minutes.
Remove croissants, spread Dijon mustard on one half.
Add the ham and Gruyere Cheese, top with croissant.
Spoon cheese sauce over each sandwich, top with more Gruyere cheese.
Bake in the oven for 5 minutes or until tops are browned.
I have included the pictures below to walk you through the process of making the sandwiches.