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Croque Monsieur

Pete Fred

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For @Kim Shookand anyone else who fancies a date with Mister Crunch...




15g butter
15g flour
160g milk, warmed
a bay leaf
freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper


25g butter, softened
2 slices of bread
1 tsp Dijon mustard, or to taste
60g Comté or Gruyère, grated
60g ham


Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute or two.
Off the heat, gradually whisk in the milk until smooth.

Add the bay leaf and bring to the boil. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set aside.


Preheat the grill to high. Butter each slice of bread on one side and place under the grill, buttered side up. Toast until golden.


Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7/200°C Fan. Line a baking tray with parchment.


Spread a little mustard on the untoasted sides of bread.

Cover one slice with half of the béchamel, right up to the edges.

Sprinkle with half of the cheese and cover with the ham.
Top with the other slice of bread, toasted side up, and spread with the remaining béchamel.

Sprinkle over the rest of the cheese and season with a little more nutmeg and pepper.


Transfer to the prepared tray and bake until bubbling and golden, 15-20 minutes.





For the béchamel, a splash of Worcestershire sauce is highly recommended. And if there's any parmesan lying around I'll grate some of that in for a double umami-bomb.


I let the béchamel cool to room temperature to thicken to the texture of wallpaper paste (yum!). That way it clings to the bread better so the sides crunch-up nicely.


Any cheese that melts well should work. Gruyère is traditional, but i prefer Comté. Avoid Emmental, too bland.


If the croque's nice and hot all the way through but not coloured to your liking, whack it under the grill until blistered and bubbling.

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