A classic French ham and cheese sandwich that is covered in a béchamel sauce and topped with a fried egg. It's divine. —Dax Phillips
Test Kitchen Notes
I am a sucker for dishes that can be fancy-fied with the addition of a just a few ingredients. This is the perfect example of a simple dish that will make even the novice cook feel like a pro, and it could convert the most loyal grilled cheese enthusiasts. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it is an easy go-to because it doesn’t require special trips to the store for fussy ingredients. I love that this recipe sticks to the traditional standards of a croque madame, but the addition of parmesan adds a bit of an edge to the béchamel. This sandwich provides just the right amount of creamy, crusty, cheesy goodness that will satisfy your inner Francophile time and time again. —gritsannegreens
1 1/2 cups
unsalted butter, divided
grated Parmesan cheese
thick slices French bread
thin slices of Gruyere cheese, plus 1 cup grated
Begin by making the béchamel sauce. Get two saucepans -- heat one on medium-low heat, and the other on medium heat. To the pan on medium-low heat, add the milk and warm it through. To the other pan, add 2 tablespoons of butter, let it melt and begin to bubble, then add the flour and mix it very well to incorporate the two.
Continue whisking for about two minutes, being careful not to let the flour mixture brown. Slowly add in the warm milk, and continue whisking until you everything is nice and smooth. You will whisk this for about 8 to 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Add in the salt, nutmeg, and the Parmesan cheese. Give it a good mix, then remove it from the heat until it is ready to be used.
Next, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Use 2 tablespoons of butter to butter all four slices of bread, and lay them into the skillet, butter side-down. As they begin to cook, add a tablespoon of mustard to two pieces of the bread. Lay down three slices of Gruyère on top of the mustard, then top each with four slices of the black forest ham. Let them continue cooking on the skillet, lifting to peek every couple of minutes, until golden-brown.
Heat your broiler. Add the slices of toasted bread to a baking sheet. Place the toasted bread on top of the bread with the mustard, cheese, and ham. Generously spread béchamel sauce over the top of each sandwich. Take half a cup of the Gruyère cheese, and add that over the béchamel sauce.
Place under the broiler until the cheese is nice and bubbly and everything is warmed through, roughly 4 to 6 minutes.
During this time, add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the skillet, and let it melt over medium-high heat. Crack the eggs, leaving the yolks whole, and continue cooking in the skillet until the whites around the yolk are cooked through, sunny side-up style.
Remove the sandwich from the broiler, and place on a serving plate. Top each sandwich with an egg. Dig in!