This recipe is my version of an open faced Croque-Provençal. You can leave the tomato off for a Croque-Monsieur and add a fried egg on top for a Croque-Madame. Mix it up and add items you like. As pictured, I added a bed of spinach under my sandwich so I had some greens.
- Measuring Cups/Spoons
- Large Spoon
- Sheet Pan (Baking Tray)
- Silpat or parchment paper
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
6 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups grated)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (packed)
8 slices of French or Italian loaf bread. You want a nice crispy crust!
12 ounces Black Forest ham, sliced thin
2 Tomatoes – I like Roma or tomato on a vine (cut into thin slices, pat dry)
A pinch or more of each: kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, nutmeg
Dijon mustard (this is a MUST, yellow will not do)
Olive Oil Spray (OPTIONAL, see step 3)
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Béchamel Sauce: Start by making a roux. Melt butter in a small saucepan on medium/low heat until it just starts to bubble. Add the flour and cook, stirring for a few minutes until smooth. Voila you just made a roux. Slowly add in the milk, whisking continuously until thick. Remove from heat. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Always start with small amounts as you can add more in but you cannot take away! Stir in the Parmesan and 1/4 cup of the grated Gruyère until creamy. Set sauce to the side.
- Cut bread into ½ inch slices. Add a thin layer of butter (or spray olive oil) to the top of the bread slice. Place bread slices on sheet pan and toast in pre-heated oven until lightly toasted. Depending on oven temperature (not all are accurate) this should only take a few minutes each side.
- Remove bread from sheet pan, wash, dry and place Silpat on pan. Lightly brush the buttered half of the toasted slices with Dijon mustard and place on Silpat. Add one to two ham slices per piece of bread. Spoon the béchamel sauce atop the ham and sprinkle a little Gruyère cheese. Add two fresh tomato slices and sprinkle remaining Gruyère cheese and crack fresh pepper on top (pepper on top is primarily for looks).
- Place sheet pan in oven and bake for 5 minutes, then turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until the cheese topping is bubbly and lightly browned.