Croque Madame is a French classic for a reason. It’s the ultimate ham and cheese sandwich topped with bechamel and a soft fried egg. What’s not to love?
When I first started this blog back in 2009, I struggled to find a name that really resonated with me then someone said something along the lines of “your food is just simply delicious. No frills, just seriously good, tasty food” and I thought, Hells yes. That is completely what I’m about. I don’t like faffing about and making things more complicated than they need to be. I like good, honest food prepared simply. And so, Simply Delicious was born. Yes, I’ve tackled more intense recipes over the years and every now and then I take hours to complete one dish but that’s also something I don’t mind. Every now and then a recipe is so good, it deserves a little more of your time. But in general, I am an “instant gratification” type of gal. When I’m hungry, I’m hungry NOW and I don’t want to wait around for my food to be ready and that’s why I have an arsenal of recipes, of which I have most of the ingredients in my pantry/fridge, which can be knocked together in minutes.
This easy Croque Madame recipe is one of those. I am all about the easy recipes and when they deliver the amount of flavour that this sandwich does, you gotta know I’m going to be all over that. It’s no surprise though, I’ve said many times before that I am a complete sandwich slut. Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that I am very easily bought with a good loaf of bread and when you add delicious fillings, I’m yours. And there is no sandwich simpler than the humble ham and cheese. But then the French took it up a notch by making it even more glorious. Topping the sandwich with a generous spoonful of creamy bechamel sauce turns a simple sandwich into a masterpiece and then you add a soft fried egg and you have happiness.
The key to making a seriously good Croque Madame (as is the case with all simple recipes), is that you need the very best ingredients you can afford. Good, crusty bread (baguette or sourdough ideally but ciabatta will also work), good ham (I used Gypsy ham) and nutty Gruyere cheese are all necessary. That’s what takes this from average to awesome. Then you top it with that egg and you cut through it, allowing the soft egg yolk to lend its creaminess to the rest of the sandwich and ohmygosh. Are you drooling on your keyboard yet? Yep, me too.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1-1.5 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- salt and white pepper to taste
- 8 slices bread, toasted
- 12 slices ham (I used Gypsy ham)
- 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
- 4 eggs, fried to your preference
- Pre-heat the grill of the oven.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter then whisk in the flour to make a roux.
- Slowly pour in the milk while continuously whisking to create a smooth, rich sauce.
- Turn down the heat and allow to cook gently, whilst stirring, until the sauce is cooked through.
- Add the mustard and season to taste.
- Assemble the sandwiches by dividing the ham and cheese between 4 slices. Place in the oven, allowing the cheese to melt then top with the remaining slices of bread and a generous spoonful of bechamel sauce before returning to the oven.
- Allow to grill until golden brown then remove from the oven and top with the fried eggs.
- Serve immediately.