Croque monsieur

Croque monsieur

20 min
Croque monsieur is a classic in French cuisine with its flavour combination of Dijon mustard, cheese and ham. This is the perfect sandwich that goes especially well with a fresh salad, but get creative and experiment with other sides of your preference!

Instructions

Step 1
  • Spread mustard on a slice of bread. Add the cheese, ham, and tomato. Place a second slice of bread on top.
Step 2
  • Whisk together the eggs and milk. Soak the sandwiches in the egg mixture.
Step 3
  • Heat butter in a frying pan and fry the bread until crispy on both sides. Cut in half diagonally and serve with a crisp salad.
Enjoy!
Storage tips for croque monsieur

A croque monsieur really is best served fresh and piping hot with the cheese still melty, but once cooled it can also be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least three days. They can even be frozen if desired. Reheat in the oven to breathe some new life into the filling and cheese.

Reheating your croque monsieur

Set the oven to 175°C and heat for a round 10 minutes to thoroughly warm a refrigerated croque monsieur. If the sandwich was frozen, extend the baking time to 25 minutes.

Questions about croque monsieur

What is the best bread to use for a croque monsieur?
As the contents of the filling and topping release moisture, a sturdy sourdough bread is the best bet to deliver a satisfying, non-soggy croque monsieur. Slice the bread fairly thick too: the sandwich needs to be solid and not floppy in order to be fully enjoyed.
Does croque monsieur mean Mr crunchy?
Some mistranslations of the name state that croque monsieur literally means ‘mr crunch’, but the real story is slightly more complicated. The crispy bread accounts for the second half of the name, derived from the French verb croquer (to bite). As for the first half: when asked by a customer about the meat filling in the sandwich, Michel Lunarca pointed at another patron, believed to be the local butcher, and replied: ‘It’s his meat’. Et voilà.
Do you eat a croque monsieur with a fork?
Though it can be tempting to grab with your hands and dive in, it’s common to see Parisians eating a croque monsieur with a fork and knife due to its messy contents. Many shirts and dresses were harmed in the making of this story.
What cheese can I use for a croque monsieur?
Gruyere cheese is the traditional option used in croque monsieur, but anything salty and strong (such as cheddar) will also work well. The goal is to contrast the sharpness of the mustard – but otherwise feel free to experiment!

Ingredients

Sandwich
Bread
4 slices
Dijon mustard
2 tsp
Cheddar cheese
2 slices
Smoked ham
2 slices
Sliced tomato
1
Egg
1
Arla Cravendale Semi-skimmed milk
150 ml
Butter
25 g
Serve with
Green salad mix

Not your average cheese sandwich

A common sight (and smell) on the streets of Paris, the name ‘croque monsieur’ has been used for this delicious cheesy treat since 1910, when Parisian restaurant Le Bel Age first started selling it under the now-famous moniker. Restaurant owner Michel Lunarca is said to have created the dish.

Vary your sandwich like this

While the mustard, cheese and ham components of the sandwich are a constant, there are many variations on the recipe to be experimented with. Adding blue cheese makes a croque Auvergnat, while tomatoes and herbs produce a croque provençal. Or why not try a croque monsieur poulet which – yes, you guessed it – is a croque monsieur with the addition of chicken.

Croque monsieur vs croque madame

Almost as famous as its slightly more stripped back counterpart, the croque madame adds an extra layer of luxury by placing a fried egg on top of the cheese. The egg yolk, cheese, ham, and mustard combine into something truly wonderful.