I know for many, January is all about cleansing and dieting, but that has never been my style. I guess I am lucky to have a pretty good metabolism which helps, but I have always been more of the belief to largely eat healthily and eat everything in moderation – you hopefully get that sense from the range of recipes I have shared. To me, in most cases if your diet is fairly balanced, the chances are you’ll be fine and it saves you having to worry about the number of calories in this or that and just enjoy life and your food. Of course I am saying that as a preface to something that is one of those slight indulgences – this croque monsieur croissant isn’t going to win any prizes as a healthy breakfast/brunch or lunch, but boy is it good now and then.
If you’ve not come across croque monsieur before then basically it’s a contender for the best grilled ham and cheese sandwich there is. If you’re wondering why I have gone so far as to claim that, well take a look and then let me tell you it’s down to great ham, some flavorful cheese and béchamel sauce plus a little mustard coming together to create oozing deliciousness. I first came across them when I was relatively young on vacation/holiday in France, and then somehow forgot them until quite recently. How, I’ll never know, but now I have re-discovered them they are one I’ll indulge in now and then. Traditionally croque monsieur is made on fairly plain sandwich bread but here I’ve put it on a croissant as they do at a cafe not too far from us and it’s one I had to try myself at home as it was a great combination; a marriage of two fantastic French delights. Today’s Foodie Extravaganza is all about croissants, so it seemed the perfect excuse to share this delicious creation.
I did debate about trying to make my own croissants, but I’m afraid time, and a cold, haven’t really allowed for that recently so I have gone with ready-made. But for this, that’s not such a big deal as everything else is what makes this truly special. One thing to note about toasting croissants, in case you haven’t done so before, is they first go soft and then crisp up, I think due to the amount of butter in there. If you don’t toast them before you put the topping on, they’ll just soften rather than be crisp – it’s still tasty but just be aware if you think it will stay as crisp as it is cold, it probably won’t. You can crisp them by pre-broiling/grilling but beware that the line between toasted and burnt is very fine with croissants so keep a close eye on them.
You may have read the bit about these including béchamel and thought why on earth you would go to the effort of making béchamel sauce for a ham and cheese sandwich; how very French. Well, the truth is it just makes it so much better it really is worth it, and it’s not that hard to make either. Not only to you get lots of cheese flavor, it soft and creamy as well – there’s no rubbery and chewy cheese going on here. It’s somehow so much more comforting and indulgant-feeling, you can’t help thinking it is such a good idea as soon as you take a bite. Whether croque monsieur croissants are the best ham and cheese sandwiches or not I don’t know, but I do know you should give it a try as they are so amazingly delicious.
- 2 croisants
- 1-2tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 sliced of good-quality cooked ham (eg black forest, Virginia)
- ⅓ cup (30g) plus approx ½ cup (45g) grated Gruyere cheese
- 1tbsp/13g butter
- 1tbsp flour
- 1cup/110ml milk
- a pinch of nutmeg and couple grinds black pepper, to taste
- optional some chives to serve
- Cut the croissants through the middle so you have a top and a bottom. Pre-heat the broiler/grill. If you'd like to crisp up the croissants a bit, place them outside first under the broiler/grill for a couple minutes, then turn and toast the inside, keeping a close eye on them as they can easily burn.
- Spread a thin layer of mustard on the inside of the bottom of the croissants and lay the ham on top - you may need to cut the ham to get it to fit a little better. Cover the ham with grated cheese (this is the approx ½cup/45g) so you have a good layer but it's not falling off.
- Make the sauce by melting the butter in a small pan. When melted, add the flour and cook, stirring regularly, for a couple minutes until it tarts to smell slightly nutty.
- Gradually add the milk to the butter-flour base, a little at a time and stirring as you go so it is well combined and trying to avoid lumps. Allow the sauce to warm through and thicken up. Once it is relatively thick (it will still run off your spoon but more slowly), add the ⅓cup/30g cheese and stir in so it melts. Add a little nutmeg and pepper to taste, remove from heat and set aside.
- Toast the bottom half of the croissant (with the ham and cheese on) so the cheese melts. Meanwhile spread a spoonful of the sauce on the inside of the tops of the croissants. When the cheese has melted, put the top of the croissants on top of the bottom then pour the sauce over the top of the croissants. If you haven't had your croissants sitting on a tray you might want to before you do this so you don't lose any sauce. Toast the croissants under the broiler/grill until the sauce starts to brown slightly.
- Remove and serve, scooping any sauce that ran off over the croissants, optionally topped with a few chives.
It’s Foodie Extravaganza Day and this month’s theme is Croissants, although some will be using the Crescent Roll. This month’s host is Kathleen from Fearlessly Creative Mammas. What is Food Extravaganza? It’s when a group of bloggers get together and make a recipe using one main ingredient. Where do we get the ingredient? We look at The Nibble and pick something off of their list. Croissants are actually celebrated on January 30th, but it’s in January, so it’s fair game. You can check out our group Pinterest board for past recipes. If you’re a blogger, you can join along with us by requesting to join on our Facebook page. Now, on to the goodness.
Beefy Green Chile Braid by Fearlessly Creative Mammas
Pain Au Jambon by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Pain Au Chocolat by Making Miracles
Sausage, Egg and Cheese Croissant with Maple Dijon Sauce by Tara’s Multicultural Table
Cinnamon and Apple Croissant Bread Pudding by The Freshman Cook
Chocolate Croissants by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Croque Monsieur Croissant by Caroline’s Cooking
Almond Croissant French Toast by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Bacon Fig Dippers for Melty Cheese by Cooking with Carlee
Triple Meat Croissants Breakfast Casserole by Cookin’ and Craftin’
Coronation Chicken filled Croissant Horns by Food Lust People Love
Breakfast Croissant Ring by Our Good Life
Baked Cinnamon Raisin Croissant French Toast from From Gate to Plate
Sharing with Tips and Tricks link party.