The Green Madame

June 24, 2021
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

This sandwich (like my pork torta) is inspired by a favorite sandwich at "the fancy sandwich shop" aka. Mike and Patty's in Boston. They make what they call a breakfast sandwich, and what I call an anytime sandwich. It's called the green madame, which is kind of an open faced croque madame, with sautéed greens layered in.
I decided to try out the idea with some spring alliums; roasted, rather than sautéed, because I thought it would give them some nice, crispy charred bits (it does). I wanted to use ramps, but they are not in our market yet, so I wound up using some green garlic. What's nice about this is that you really could use almost any spring allium (spring garlic, spring onions, slim young leeks, ramps), and I'm sure it would be tasty with any of them. Stinky, creamy gruyere sauce looooves soft, slumping mounds of roasted alliums, and the egg on top does what an egg on top always does: Makes it perfect. If you'd like, you can slip a piece of good ham into your sandwich too, which will make it closer to a classic croque madame, but I found I liked it better without. The garlic should be in charge. —fiveandspice

Test Kitchen Notes

In this ingenious take on a classic Croque Madame, roasted green garlic brings alluring hints of black pepper and licorice to a holy trinity of bechamel sauce, Gruyere, and gently fried egg. If you're feeling particularly gluttonous, add a touch more Gruyere to the toast and sauce. The papery crunch of the roasted garlic is so addictive that we wonder why we've ever prepared spring greens any other way. Consider slicing the green garlic into bite-size lengths either before or after roasting for easier eating. —mitschlag

What You'll Need
  • 2 bunches of young spring garlic (no cloves formed yet) (or ramps, or leeks...)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus a bit extra for frying eggs
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk (about, I always wind up making bechamel by feel, rather than true measurements)
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup heaping, of grated raw milk Gruyere
  • 2 generous slices of crusty, country style bread
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Preheat your oven to 425F. Trim the bottoms, and the uppermost part of the green tops off of your green garlic. Toss them with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet or large roasting pan, and put them in the oven. Roast them, stirring occasionally, until they are quite soft and have dark brown splotches all over them. Then, remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. While your garlic is roasting you can make your bechamel. In a small saucepan, heat the butter until it is foaming. Whisk in the flour to form a paste, and turn the heat down to medium low. Cook, stirring for about 2 minutes to keep the flour from tasting raw. But don't let it turn brown. We're not making a roux.
  3. Whisk in your milk bit by bit. Whisk vigorously with each addition of milk until the mixture is smooth. Be sure not to add too much milk at a time because that can definitely cause lumps. When all the milk is added and you have a loose sauce, stir in your nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper. Continue to cook over medium low heat, stirring pretty much constantly, until the sauce has thickened, 6-7 minutes. Then, remove from the heat and whisk in 1/4 cup of your gruyere. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.
  4. Toast your pieces of bread until they are golden, then put them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the remaining grated gruyere onto the pieces of bread, and mound some roasted spring garlic on each. Spoon bechamel generously over the top of each sandwich.
  5. Heat your broiler to high and put the sandwiches under it. Broil - keep an eye on them - until the bechamel is bubbling and starting to brown in patches. Then remove from the broiler.
  6. While the sandwiches are broiling, melt a bit more butter in a small frying pan. When it is foaming, crack the eggs into the pan and sprinkle them with just a bit of salt and pepper. Fry them over gentle heat until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. When they're ready, put an egg on top of each sandwich.
  7. These are knife and fork sandwiches. Yeah!
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18 Reviews

Christine June 24, 2021
We have made versions of this twice now, once for breakfast, and once for lunch with a salad. We did a smattering of baby spinach, roasted red peppers and a slice of prosciutto under the bechamel sauce and added gruyere to the top of the sauce. It's a winner at our house for sure!
Andrea M. April 5, 2018
I like my madames with sautéed silverbeet (which seems to grow well here all year, so I always have some) better than I do with ham!
sel E. April 9, 2013
this looks like the perfect savoury breakfast tartine. must try this tomorrow!
fiveandspice April 9, 2013
Yes! It's fabulous for a savory breakfast - though perhaps a little fussy for most weekdays (worth it though, if you have the time!).
sarahseaside March 30, 2013
I had flat leaf parsley and a few slices of garlic clove instead of young spring garlic, and had parmesan, no gruyere. I just wanted to encourage people to go for it even if they don't have it all ingredients because it still came out exquisite! p.s. I had a lot of bechamel left over and made 4 eggs!
fiveandspice March 30, 2013
So happy to hear it! And yes, the recipe does make a good amount of bechamel. The sauce just never seems to turn out quite right if I try to make it in small amounts, so I just make the full amount and figure out things to do with it!
gingerroot April 27, 2012
YUM! This looks SO good, fiveandspice!! I totally agree with you about this being an anytime sandwich, too. : )
fiveandspice April 28, 2012
Thanks Gingerroot! It's totally an anytime sandwich, hehe.
Midge April 25, 2012
This sounds and looks incredibly delicious. How did I miss Mike and Patty's?
fiveandspice April 26, 2012
Thanks Midge! Mike & Patty's is tucked into a tiny corner in Downtown, nearish the Tufts Medical Center and New England School of Law. If I weren't forced out of JP to go down there for work/school, I never, ever would have found it. It's a gem, though. Mike and Patty used to work for Formaggio Kitchen before they started the cafe, I guess.
healthierkitchen April 24, 2012
I have the ramps! Must make this!
fiveandspice April 24, 2012
Oh, lucky duck! If you do give it a try, let me know how it is with the ramps!!
creamtea April 24, 2012
I always want the garlic to be in charge.
fiveandspice April 24, 2012
You and me both! Hehe.
aargersi April 24, 2012
I love her and I want her for lunch but my broiler doesn't work. Therefore, I must come to you house and you can feed me this, K?
fiveandspice April 24, 2012
You can come for lunch whenever you darn please! Just show up and I'll cook one up for you. :)
hardlikearmour April 24, 2012
This sounds amazingly good, as usual, 5&S!
fiveandspice April 24, 2012
Thanks so much HLA!