Tues., Nov. 7th: Croque-Monsieur, Croque-Madame, or Croque-Norvégien (Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Ham or Smoked Salmon and optional Fried Duck Egg) and a Bistro Salad – (Time to Cook: 20 min. / Cook by Day: Thursday)
The famous Croque-Monsieur and Croque-Madame, as well as the many other iterations, made their debut in a Paris café on the Boulevard des Capucines in 1910. Croque comes from the French verb “to bite,” and thus literally translates to “crunch, sir” or “crunch, madame,” as the unifying characteristic of all variations is the crispy, toasted egg-based bread. This is the French version of a grilled cheese sandwich, except slightly elevated from the one your mother used to make.
These sandwiches are traditionally made with brioche, French ham, Gruyere or Emmentaler cheese, and a Mornay Sauce. With the addition of a fried egg on top, the Croque-Monsieur becomes a Croque-Madame, so named as the rumor has it, because it resembles a woman’s hat. There are many other variations including the Croque-Provençal, which contains tomato, or the Croque Norvégien, which replaces smoked salmon for the ham.
The key to making these rich and fulfilling sandwiches is the Mornay Sauce served over top. A Mornay Sauce is an extension of the Béchamel sauce, which is one of the 5 “Mother Sauces” in French cuisine and the base for many other sauces. A Roux is made, which is any animal fat cooked with flour. To that, whole milk is added and cooked until it is bubbly creating the basic Béchamel sauce. Once cheese is added, and in this case Emmentaler, the Béchamel becomes a Mornay Sauce.
Lastly, a fried egg is added to the top. We will be using a duck egg, which are slightly larger with a distinct flavor. We will be serving the sandwich with a Bistro Salad, simple lettuce greens, to which we will be added a variety of pickled vegetables along with a Lemon-Tarragon Vinaigrette.