There are certain realities one must accept in life. As lovely and fancy and French and delectable as a croque monsieur is, it's still (basically) a ham and cheese sandwich. Not just any ham and cheese sandwich though. It's Croque Monsieur: The Best Ham and Cheese Sandwich You'll Ever Eat. It's important to admit this early in the process.
Croque Monsieur and All That Lovely Cheese!
At least once per year, usually after Easter, I make croque monsieur sandwiches with the leftover Eater ham. You can make this with thin sliced ham from the deli as well, of course, so don't you worry.
In the past, I made this sandwich with gruyere cheese. However, I was reading that the traditional cheese for croque monsieur is called Emmantaler. They don't always have this at the store, but I was able to find it and chose to use both cheeses. I also had a little block of fresh parmesan on hand, so I grated that as well. I think all these cheeses pair together very well and make for the perfect balance of flavors.
There is a really sweet video on YouTube about where and how Emmantaler cheese is made. If you have any interest in cheese making, here you go: How Swiss Emmantaler Cheese is Made.
All that being said, I realize there is an enormous amount of cheese in this recipe. I know. It's indulgent and cheesy and over-the-top. Here's the thing: cheese it up to your comfort level. If you think it's too much cheese, simply use less. There. Life is a choice. Cooking is a choice. Cheese is a choice. Use more if you want. Use less if you want.
High Quality Bread is Critcial for Croque Monsieur
If you've seen my Pork Schnitzel Sandwich w/Pickled Red Onions, Melty Swiss and Savory Caper Spread, you know that I recommend (insist is more like it) using a high-quality bread when making gourmet sandwiches. The croque monsieur is no different. For the pork schnitzel, I used Iggy's Bread from Cambridge, MA. For the croque monsieur, I used Nashoba Brook Bakery . Specifically, the sliced French loaf. The bakery is located in West Concord, MA but they also sell their bread at local Hannaford's and I'm loving that. So find a great quality bread for this one - this won't work well on generic white bread.
Croque Monsieurs Were a Surprising Option for Future Lunches
If you read my blog regularly, you know that I often cook with leftovers in mind. For this sandwich, I used bread that comes in huge slices. It was only possible to eat half a sandwich they were so big. In other words, we had a feast, as usual. Lots of leftovers and I froze some which worked out great!
I knew I wanted to experiment with freezing these sandwiches because it seemed impossible they would be bad defrosted and reheated. It was a bigger success than I could have imagined. The sandwich defrosted on the counter, then I popped it in the toaster oven and baked it on a small sheet pan. Tasted just as fresh as the original. You could also place it in the refrigerator overnight to defrost if you're planning to eat it the next day.Print