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creative croque (madame?)


davidberiss
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I am cooking for a dinner with friends on Saturday night. It is a sort of gourmet potluck, in which we all bring dishes. The theme is eggs.

So, I am thinking gourmet croque madame. I know, some people think madame is a travesty. There is no doubt a pun in that, for which I do not apologize. But I beg your collective assistance anyhow.

Does anyone have any really creative ideas for this? I have heard of Daniel Boulud's croque monsieur with smoked salmon and caviar, but I don't know how he makes it and, anyhow, I think someone else is bringing a caviar dish. Still, a smoked fish is always welcome in my house. I have also thought of using prosciutto and a very dark bread, with, of course, a fried egg on top.

We are in New Orleans, so perhaps I should look for a New Orleans twist...a croque madame with shrimp and tasso? (Hard to imagine cheese and an egg with that.) Something with oysters?

I would really welcome any ideas!

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David, I find that most supposedly egg focused dishes are lost in translation, they become no longer about the eggs, all these fancy breads, tasso, shrimp, proscuitto just distract you from the true pleasures of egg consumption.

Keep it simple.

By Croque Madame, I am assuming you dont want an open face sandwich ?

And then a fried egg on top.........

Typical Crouque is Sandwich filled with ham, bechamel and gruyere, fried in clarified butter or panini grilled ?

Eggs and Truffles love each other, go to dean and deluca or citarella and buy a small jar of black truffle cream, its actually just cheap.

Would be nice if you went to Union square market and actually got some real farm eggs.

Do you know how to boil eggs perfectly without any sulphuric smell and perfect colored yolks ?

Make the sandwich with....

Brioche

Good cooked and NOT cured ham, cured hams are too salty, distracts from the eggs..

Make a thin Bechamel with chopped boiled eggs folded in at the end.

very young gruyere, no aged stuff or Comte.....

Truffle cream

Fry up that sucker......the eggs will speak to you....... :shock:

Remember the truffle egg toast at Ino ????

Kinda like that but better..... :smile:

Edited by Vadouvan (log)
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I make a croque madame at the guest house for breakfast:

Cut a round out of a slice of toast and spread lightly with minced garlic. Cut two rounds of ham with the same cutter. Fry an egg to sunny side up using the cutter as a mould. Make a creamy cheese and herb sauce: bring cream to the simmer, add grated cheese - you want one that is not too strong, cheddar will do fine- add dried oreganum, simmer until thick and the cheese melted.

Assemble by placing the ham in the middle of the plate (if you start with the toast the assembly tends to slide around on the plate), then the toast, then the egg. Cover with the sauce - it should cover the assembly entirely and spread out on the plate. Sprinkle chopped fresh oreganum over.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Just to clarify I do believe Croques are without egg, and Monte Cristo's are.

Nope - a croque monsieur is a ham and cheese sandwich. In France, it becomes a croque madame by the addition of a fried egg on top.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Just to clarify I do believe Croques are without egg, and Monte Cristo's are.

Having spent way more time this week researching this than is healthy, I can assure you that the definitions of a proper or classic croque vary wildly. On Epicurious, for instance, there is an acrimonious discussion about whether or not a Croque Madame is distinguished from a Croque Monsieur by an egg or by chicken instead of ham (this is in the comments on a recipe).

What I have found in general is that a Croque Monseiur has ham and cheese, sometimes bechamel, and it may in fact have chicken instead of ham. The chicken innovation is often attributed to Jacques Pepin, but I think he was reproducing a recipe from home, because if you look in the Larousse Gastronomique, they list chicken as an option. A Croque Madame is distinguished by the fried egg on top.

Now that is in general. The possible variations on these are rather broad and, as usual, there are many people who assert that their variation is in fact not a variation, but the original correct thing, all other variations constituting heresy.

I really appreciate the wonderful suggestions you have all provided. I have experimented a bit this week, with different kinds of bread (lacking brioche -- although I will get some today, I think), I tried both a rosemary bread (excellent) and pumpernickel (I like it, but the flavor is too strong for this), with different meats (a nice cooked ham worked well, prosciuotto worked too), with mustard, bechamel, mornay (this was great), gruyere, cheddar, with eggs on top (tasty, but structurally problematic), with tomatoes (not that great) and with sauteed chanterelles (instead of meat, for vegetarians, and this was really quite good). I was unable to find the suggested truffle cream here in New Orleans, but I have another possible source I will check soon.

I need to use eggs because the theme of the dinner is eggs. If I use a mornay sauce, I suppose I technically don't have to put one on top too. But it looks cool and that is important. I am going to be making about 10 of these, so I'll probably do a variety of them. Right now my biggest concern in structural and I think that maybe cutting off the crusts will help with that. Still, I need to work with brioche to see if that helps. I wonder if a challah would work as well? I also thought of trying an egg wash (like french toast), which gets me the eggs and might add an interesting texture. Oh, and I baked mine in the oven and added the egg after that. Perhaps I should grill them (is that the right term?) in a pan first, so one side gets crispy, then run it under the broiler to melt the cheese on top.

Ahh, the possible variations are endless.

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