Updated: Jul 5, 2021
Layers upon layers of crusty bread, mustard spiked béchamel, salty ham and Gruyere cheese... arguably the best sandwich ever!
Fun story. Years ago, Brian and I were newly engaged and had just begun the wedding planning process. For all, this is a magical time of celebrating love and togetherness and every couple has their particular interests in planning. For us, it was all about the food. As it usually goes, the venue is chosen first and you typically work your way out from there. We visited venue after venue, each wonderful in their own way but not quite right for varied reasons. On a lark we ended up at a restaurant, with event space, along the sound in Connecticut. The space was lovely, the view was better and the vibe was exactly what we were looking for. In making up our mind we decided to have lunch on the terrace on a beautiful autumn day. I choose the Croque Monsieur with a simple side salad because, honestly, whenever it is on the menu, I almost always order it. It was sandwich bliss! The crunch, the cream, the cheese the decadence, all perfectly balanced with a bright mix of baby greens. We both shared my plate and in that moment it was decided, we would marry there, one that same terrace one year later. All because of an incredible and memorable sandwich.
8 sliced good artisan bread such as Tuscan, peasant or even sourdough 8 oz deli thin ham, preferably rosemary 7 oz Gruyere cheese (substitute Swiss cheese) ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese 6 tbsp butter 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups 2% or higher fat milk ½ tsp Dijon mustard Pinch of nutmeg Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
To begin, first make your béchamel sauce by melting butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Dissolve flour into butter and cook, constantly whisking to prevent burning. Slowly add milk, continuing to whisk until the mixture is smooth and sauce is thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in mustard, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
On a parchment lined baking tray arrange your four bread slices. Spread each bread slice with a layer of béchamel. Top each with thin slices of ham and a handful of Gruyere and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Place remaining slices of bread on top and spread with remaining béchamel sauce. Top sandwiches with Gruyere and Parmesan cheese evenly.
Bake on the center rack of preheated oven for about 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted. Once melted, set oven to broiler and cook until tops of sandwiches are golden and bubbly. About 2-4 minutes. Be careful not to overcook your sandwiches under the broiler, this step is fast. Serve warm and enjoy!
~Makes four sandwiches.
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