Friday, January 14, 2011
Croque-monsieur is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich first served in French bistros. More elaborate versions are served with Bechamel sauce. If it is topped with a poached or fried egg, it becomes a croque-madame.
After I decided to make croque-madame, I was contemplating Bechamel sauce. Specifically, did I want to make a Bechamel sauce. And more importantly, did I want to eat Bechamel sauce. That is when I thought of Eggs Benedict and decided to make Hollandaise sauce rather than Bechamel. Thus my croque-madame-benedict was born.
Traditionally, the croque-madame would be made with gruyere cheese, but since my current white cheese obsession is provolone, I used that. Also, dijon mustard would be spread on the bread slices, though I opted out of that.
For each sandwich, use 2 slices of sturdy white bread, several slices of thinly sliced smoked ham, and a slice or two of white cheese. Butter the outsides of the sandwich, then grill in a large skillet until browned and the cheese is melted. Keep warm while preparing the remaining ingredients.
Make the Hollandaise sauce and keep warm. (Recipe below)
Poach or fry eggs. Top each grilled sandwich with an egg and pass the Hollandaise sauce.
2 egg yolks
3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup firm butter
In a small saucepan, stir egg yolks and lemon juice briskly with a wooden spoon. Add half the butter and stir over very low heat until butter is melted. Add remaining butter, stirring briskly until butter is melted and sauce thickens. Be sure butter melts slowly to give egg time to cook and thicken the sauce without curdling.