Monday, February 14, 2011

Croque Madame

I first saw this recipe on 30 minute meals with Rachael Ray.  She said it was a great late night snack.  I don't know about late night snack, but it was mighty tasty for dinner!  If you don't have swiss cheese, I've also used provolone and muenster and it works just fine.

6 tablespoons butter, divided
2 rounded tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 slices white bread
4 large eggs
4 slices deli-cut ham
4 slices deli-sliced Swiss cheese
Parsley, chives or thyme (any or all on hand), chopped

For the bechamel sauce: Place a small sauce pot over medium-low heat and melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute or so. Whisk in the milk and bring it to a bubble then drop the heat to low. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, nutmeg and Dijon. When the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, turn off the heat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. When the butter melts, crack the eggs and add them to the pan, keeping the whites separate from each other. Cook to desired doneness, sunny-side-up to over-hard.

While the eggs cook, generously butter bread with the remaining butter. Keeping buttered sides facing out, build ham and cheese sandwiches; spreading béchamel on the insides of the bread and using 2 slices of ham and cheese for each sandwich.

Heat a second skillet over medium heat. Cook the sandwiches until golden, about 3-4 minutes, then turn. Cook them for 2 minutes more then transfer to plates, top with eggs and more sauce, garnish with herb of choice and serve with a knife and fork.

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