Friday, April 13, 2007

Croque Monsieur… King of the open-face sandwich!

Easier to make than pronounce (croak-mon-sir), this is world’s most famous open-face sandwich. According to my French sandwich sources (Wikipedia) the name is based on the verb croquer, "to bite hungrily," and the word monsieur which means "mister." So, I guess this basically translates to “bite hungrily Mister!” And if you make this delicious open-faced delight you’ll know why. By the way, I’m sure it’s the same if you’re a Madame or Mademoiselle.

There are many versions, but mine is slices of the round, crusty French bread (pain au levain) topped with our cheesy,home-made thyme béchamel (left-over from our cheese soufflé recipe video), covered with ham, tomato and cheese, and then baked golden brown. How do you say “to die for” in French? I stole this version from a French bakery here in San Francisco called Tartine, which has lines of people out the door waiting for these beauties to come out of the oven. Bon Appetite!!

4 thick slices of bread
1/2 cup of cheesy Bechamel
8 slices tomato
salt and pepper to taste
thinnly sliced smoked ham
grated cheese of your choice
olive oil


Speak Sexy said...

Hello Chef! There is also a Croque Madame which is the same way as the Croque Monsieur but with a sunny side up egg on top...Even Yummier! (I live in Belgium and you can find these all over the place)

Chef John said...

Sounds Great!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, there is a Madame version. The egg on top is supposed to symbolize a breast. Not the ideal breast perhaps, but a breast nonetheless.

Love your site.

Benjamin said...

I don't think i'll call that a croque monsieur. In France there's no tomatoes and there's a 2nd slice of bread on the top covered with bechamel ant cheese. But that recipe looks good and i want to try it.
PS : "to die for" in french is "mourir pour" and in this case we prefer saying "se damner pour"
PPS : sorry for bad english ^^

Chef John said...

Good thing I'm not in France! The bakery here in San Francisco I stole from it calls it a CM, so that's what I called it. C'est la vie!

Anonymous said...

Today we made the Croque Monsieur with leftover Holiday Pumpkin Bread. It was so good I ate two, served with coleslaw and pale ale. YouTube has some French accordion music that plays well with this sandwich.

lacledek said...

I know this entry is old--my apologies. I was trying to find recipes resembling the croque monsieurs we ate in Montreal when I was in high school 9 years ago. (My sister and I came home and created a pretty fantastic copycat with French bread, mayonnaise, oregano, ham, tomato slices, and mozzarella cheese. Good food simply and on a budget! But I was interested in finding out what it really should be.) We have come to the conclusion (with limited evidence) that French (from France) croque monsieurs and Québécois croque monsieurs are different beasts--and the one you've made is Québécois! So I think you can definitely call this a croque monsieur. It's just the Canadian version. Bon appétit!