Croque-Monsieur, THE typical Parisian grilled cheese sandwich
Saturday evening I use to prepare “Croque-Monsieur” (a kind of French grilled cheese) for the dinner. Grilled cheese sandwiches are so good, so quick to prepare and so recumforting!
It’s a typical Parisian grilled cheese sandwich. One of the most popular traditional hot sandwiches served in Parisian bistrot. I know grilled-cheese sandwiches exist in many countries but in France we have our own grilled cheese sandwich tradition. The traditional Croque-Monsieur is prepared with a sauce Béchamel. It’s the official recipe but not mine. Even if it’s so usual, I don’t do it that way. My favorite version is much simpler, it’s the grilled cheese version of my grand-mother. When I was a child I spent most of my holidays with my grand parents. We usually had a three-course dinner in the kitchen. But once a week, we used to have dinner in the living room and we watched TV together. It was a kind of exceptional dinner. My grand-mother prepared Croque-Monsieur because it’s was much easier to eat in front of the TV. So it’s really a good souvenir. I like to redo same thing at home.
Nowadays, Croque-Monsieur has became very popular in France. We even have specialised restaurants. Many variants exist (I give you some ideas below ?). Creativity has no limit!
Croque-Monsieur: my family recipe
For 4 servings
- Preparation: 5 minutes
- Cooking: 5 minutes
- Total: 10 minutes
- 8 slices of sandwich bread
- 4 slices of ham (cooked)
- 7 oz (200g) of grated or sliced cheese (In France we use Emmental, it could be also cheddar)
- Optional: 2 onions
- Butter the bread
- On 4 slices of buttered bread, lay one slice of ham
- Cover with cheese and slightly pepper
- Optional: chop the onions and brown them with butter in a saucepan. Add them on the top of the cheese
- Close the sandwich with the other slices of bread
- Press firmly the sandwiches
- Heat butter in a large saucepan on medium heat. And cook till the sandwiches get brown (cheese should melt)
- Half the grilled cheese sandwich (one sandwich makes two triangles) and serve with a simple green salad
Grilled cheese sandwich variants
- You can replace ham by chicken breast, smoked salmon, smoked raw ham
- For a vegetarian version (instead of ham), you can add 200g spinach (brown them for 5 minutes with onions) and add pines. You can also add brown chopped mushrooms with your onions for about 5 minutes
- You can replace Emmental by goat cheese, gruyère, gouda, blue cheese or Cheddar
- You can add “Bechamel sauce“. A typical French sauce prepared with meal, butter, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- You can top that croque-monsieur with a fried egg. In France we call it Croque-Madame instead of Croque-Monsieur.
For the story, Croque-Monsieur means in French: Bite a Man, Croque-Madame means Bite a woman. Don’t ask me why… it’s a very strange story. The restaurant’s owner who first served that dish to his clients in Paris one century ago used to tell really bad jokes…