A classic french lunch dish, the Croque Monsieur (pronounced "krohk muh-syuh") dates back to a Parisian cafe menu in 1910. While it is not certain why the french words for "crunch" and "mister" were combined to describe the sandwich, it's possible to take a gander at why it remains so popular.
The hot ham and cheese with a special Mornay sauce is not to be confused with it's female counterpart -- the Croque Madame -- which includes a fried or poached egg.
Chef Mayo is here to give a rundown of how it's done:
4 Thick slices of brioche bread
8 oz. sliced ham
4 slices of Gruyere cheese
1 cup Sauce Mornay (recipe below)
1 tablespoon of minced chives
Butter for toasting the Bread
For Sauce Mornay
2 tablespoons of flour
1 oz. unsalted butter
½ bay leaf
3 oz grated Gruyere cheese
2 cups whole milk
Salt, nutmeg and white pepper to taste
(To prepare the sauce)
1. Begin by melting the butter in a small sauce pot over low heat.
2. Add the bay leaf and cook briefly until fragrant.
3. Add the flour and cook approx. 4 minutes to a pale golden color (roux).
4. Whisk the whole milk into the roux and bring to a simmer.
5. Lower the heat and allow to simmer gently for 10 minutes.
6. Remove from the heat and whisk in the grated cheese.
7. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
8. Hold in a warm place until ready to use.
(To assemble the Croque Monsieur)
1. Generously coat one side of each piece of bread with butter and toast in a nonstick pan over medium heat.
2. Meanwhile, in a separate sauté pan, begin to heat the ham through using a small amount of butter if necessary.
3. Once the ham is hot, top with the sliced cheese and allow to melt.
4. Place the ham and cheese between the toasted slices of bread and top with the Sauce Mornay.
5. Garnish with minced chives.
6. Serve warm.