The Croque Madame – The Ultimate Brunch Food
I love a croque madame. I mean, seriously love. Who doesn’t like some good toasted bread covered with cheese, a deliciously salty meat, béchamel sauce and an egg? I mean, seriously, are there people who don’t like that? Essentially just a souped up ham and cheese sandwich, the croque madame can be found on many American breakfast menus.
There are 5 key ingredients for an amazing croque madame: cheese, ham (bacon), bread, bechamel and an egg. The most common cheese used for this sandwich is Gruyere, but any flavorful cheese would be amazing. I actually like to use smoked gouda, however it can be difficult to melt for that nice gooey texture we like in a croque madame. I choose to use bacon instead of the traditional ham, because, well, bacon. For the bread, use any kind you like, but make sure it is not cut too thick, and the crust is not too crusty. The goal is to have a crisp toasted outside, and a chewy middle, without getting soggy. Toasting both sides of the bread helps to prevent any sogginess.
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Once you have gathered your chosen ingredients, the next key is the béchamel. Béchamel is what gives the croque madame it’s creamy richness. It’s actually quite easy to make. Melt the butter and add the flour, stirring constantly until very light brown. Add the milk, stir, bring to a boil and let simmer until desired thickness, usually about 5-10 minutes. For a thinner sauce, add additional milk until desired consistency is reached. However, you want a thick spreadable sauce for this recipe. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Now butter each side of your bread generously and toast until crisp and buttery on the outside. This is the key to avoiding sogginess (I know, I already said this, but it’s key).
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Add the bacon (or ham) and cheese to the sandwich, smear a healthy helping of bechamel sauce on the bread and place the top on. Smear another layer of bechamel over the top of the bread and place in the oven (350 degrees) until everything gets nice and gooey. For something extra special, add some additional cheese to the top before placing it in the oven for even more gooey, cheesy goodness. Purely optional (but highly recommended). Place a fried egg on top and enjoy!
Looking for some other great breakfast recipes? Check these out: