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Author Notes: Recently my son and I were lucky enough to spend 10 days in Paris, and everywhere we went we sampled the Croque Mesdames available at different cafes. This is my combination of all the things I like best - a pretty classic version of a French favourite comfort food! I like to serve it for an easy dinner with a glass of red wine and a simple green salad. —From The Kitchen
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan (or tasty cheese)
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 slices white bread
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 8 slices ham
- 1 cup grated cheese (I use gruyere)
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon butter
- You can make the Béchamel Sauce either on the stove top, or in the microwave. The method is very similar. On the stove top, heat the butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat until just melted. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Add the milk in three lots, stirring continuously, until well incorporated. Keep stirring while cooking over the heat until the sauce is thickened and smooth. If it misbehaves, just whisk it with a wire whisk until smooth - it should finish thick and silky. Add the parmesan and stir to combine. Yum. Leave to cool. (Left over Béchamel Sauce can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days). Preheat oven to 200?C (400?F) and get out an oven tray.
- Butter one side of each piece of bread. Lay 4 pieces butter-side down on baking tray. Spread each piece with 2 tablespoons of Béchamel Sauce and 2 pieces of ham. Top with remaining bread, butter side up, and spread with 1 more tablespoon of Béchamel Sauce each. Sprinkle with gruyere cheese and pop in the oven until golden and bubbling, about 15 minutes. While the toasts are cooking, heat remaining butter in a frypan and fry eggs over medium heat until cooked through, but still with a runny yolk. Remove toasts from oven and top one with a fried egg. Serve as-is for breakfast, or accompanied with a dash of dijon mustard and a small green salad and a glass of red wine for lunch or dinner. Serves 4 for breakfast - or two for dinner.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Cheap Feast