Tom cooks CROQUE MONSIEUR
This is probably the ultimate toasted sandwich. It may seem like a lot of mustard but, in fact, it all blends in. If you want to turn your croque monsieur into a croque madame you can change its sex just by putting a fried egg on top.
For the cheese sauce - enough for 4:
45G BUTTER 35G FLOUR 300ML MILK 35G PARMESAN OR GRANA PADANO 1 TSP SMOOTH FRENCH MUSTARD BLACK PEPPER
For each sandwich:
2 SLICES OF GOOD WHITE BREAD SOFT BUTTER 1 TSP GRAIN MUSTARD 1 OR 2 SLICES OF COOKED HAM 50G EXTRA MATURE CHEDDAR CHEESE
Pre-heat the oven to 200˚C, gas mark 6.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the flour. Stir together and let the flour cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk, a little at a time, whisking to avoid lumps. Return to the heat and, still whisking, let the mixture thicken. Simmer for five minutes, then grate in the Parmesan. Stir until melted, then add the mustard. Set the sauce aside while you prepare the croques. Butter one slice of bread on one side and place under a hot grill, buttered side up. When it has browned and started to go crisp, remove from the grill and place it buttered side down on a baking tray. Spread the unbuttered side with the grain mustard. Cover this with the cooked ham and top with the cheddar cheese, coarsely grated. Take the other slice of bread and place it under the hot grill until it has browned on one side. Place this, browned side upwards, on top of the layer of grated cheddar and press down gently but firmly. Now cover the sandwich with the cheese sauce and place in the oven for 15 minutes or until the surface of the sauce is bubbling and starting to brown.