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Recipe: Mini Croque Monsieur (and Madames)

Chrissy Dupé

Screw eating healthy! Bring back the bacon.

Well, ham actually. But you get the gist.

The world’s most overrated toasted sandwich or culinary masterpiece? Whichever side of the fence you’re on, you have to admit that the croque-monsieur in all it’s cheesy glory is pretty damn good.

After eating nothing but salads for the last week straight, I needed some serious egg, ham and cheese action. And what better way to celebrate these three key food groups than to pair them with soft white bread, smother them with Béchamel sauce and top them off with golden, bubbling Gruyére cheese.

Mini_madame_Hercan

It’s said that the original croque-monsieur was discovered after some French workmen accidentally left their ham and cheese sandwiches near a hot radiator all day (thanks fellas!). The addition of the mustard and Béchamel came later. And I for one am glad those French foodies kept at it.

I like to use a delicious full-flavoured leg ham and incorporate the seeded mustard into the Béchamel, rather than putting it straight onto the bread because it just gives the whole thing a lovely creamy mustard flavour.

Mini_madame_1

 

These smart little mini monsieur are an easy and delicious addition to your brunch repertoire. They require minimal effort for maximum taste and can be served a snack, as part of a fun mini brunch menu, or for lunch with some crispy fries, a garden salad dressed in a zingy vinaigrette.

And to make sure both genders are represented I’ve made half of these ones mini madame, complete with scrumptious little quail eggs.

Bon appetit!

Mini Monsieur (and Madame) recipe

Serves: 4

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients

8 slices of thick white bread, cut into quarters (crusts left on)

6 slices of sliced leg ham

140g Gruyère cheese, finely grated

100g butter, melted

4 quail eggs

1 tsp mixed herbs

Baby cornichons, to serve

Béchamel sauce

100g butter (melted)

2 tbsp plain flour

325ml full cream milk

½ tsp grated nutmeg

2 tbsp seeded mustard

½ tsp sea salt

Instructions

Brush one side of each quarter bread slice liberally with melted butter and put under a pre-heated medium heat grill with butter-side up to get golden but not burnt (about 4 mins). Set aside.

For the Béchamel sauce

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it starts to foam (about 2 mins).

Add the flour and stir to incorporate until mixture is starts to become foamy (about 3 mins).

Incorporate milk gradually, stirring until smooth, then keep cooking on low-medium heat for around 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in seeded mustard, nutmeg and salt. Set aside to rest, covered.

To assemble 

Put half of the bread slices butter side down on a baking tray lined with grease-proof baking paper.

Add ½ teaspoon of béchamel to each piece, smoothing it to the edges of the bread. Then add ham and some Gruyere.

Put the remaining bread slices on top (butter side up) and add another layer (1/2 teaspoon) of Béchamel, ham and the rest of the cheese. Add a sprinkling of herbs to the top.

Place into the oven on your grease-proof paper lined tray for around 10-15 mins or until cheese is golden brown and melted.

Meanwhile, heat a small amount of oil in a non-stick frying pan on low-medium heat and fry your quail eggs for around 4 minutes or until whites are firm but yolk is still runny. You can use small round cookie cutters as mini egg rings if you want a really round fried egg.

Top half of the little sandwiches with a quail egg and serve with baby cornichons.

Note: you can also serve these tasty little treats for lunch with french fries and a side salad dressed in a nice zingy vinaigrette.

As first published on Little Food Blog

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Chrissy Dupé

Chrissy is a lover of lists and a self-confessed control freak. Her mission is to help other women with a strong need to be in control learn how to harness the power of their inner control freak and use it for good. Having lived through the devastation that being control freak without focus brings, and going out the other side stronger, Chrissy developed a series of hands-on, zero 'fluff' programs to help women control their freak, instead of letting it run them into the ground. Her philosophy is based on the little-known fact that control freaks are actually born for greatness... and that without them, the world would fall into disorganised chaos. You can find out more at www.controlyourfreak.com. More about the Author

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