croque mon­sieur - - COOK IT NOW! -

The best croque mon­sieur in the world is sold in Sébastien Gau­r­dard’s tiny and rather del­i­cate tea rooms in the Place des Pyra­mides, op­po­site the Lou­vre in Paris. It is an ur­bane croque mon­sieur you feel you could eat with white kid gloves on. This one, how­ever, is a ro­bust, street-fight­ing croque mon­sieur where box­ing gloves, or even bare knuck­les, might be more ap­pro­pri­ate.

makes 4| prep 20 mins | cook­ing 20 mins

But­ter, at room tem­per­a­ture, to spread 8 thick slices crusty bread 200g finely grated gruyère 8 slices smoked ham


250ml (1 cup) full-cream milk 30g but­ter 20g plain flour 2 tsp Di­jon mus­tard Large pinch of freshly grated nut­meg 50g finely grated gruyère Pinch of cayenne pep­per (op­tional)

1 Pre­heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced. 2 To make the bechamel, heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat with­out let­ting it boil. Melt the but­ter in an­other small saucepan over medium heat un­til it be­gins to froth. Add the flour and whisk un­til smooth and the flour be­gins to bub­ble and look puffy. Cook, stir­ring, for 1 minute. Add the hot milk all at once and con­tinue to stir un­til the sauce has thick­ened (this will hap­pen quite fast), then cook, stir­ring, for an­other 5 min­utes. Stir in the mus­tard, nut­meg and gruyère. Sea­son with salt and pep­per. Add the cayenne, if you like a lit­tle kick. 3 But­ter the bread slices gen­er­ously on one side. Lay half the slices, but­ter-side down, on a bak­ing tray. Top with the gruyère and ham, then sand­wich with the re­main­ing bread slices, but­ter-side up. Bake for about 7 min­utes or un­til the bread is golden brown. 4 Pre­heat the grill on high. Flip the sand­wiches over and evenly spoon the bechamel over the top. Grill the sand­wiches un­til the bechamel is lightly golden. Serve hot!

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