I must say THANKS!! to Kathy at All Food Considered. She picked a wonderful recipe…and one that my family (especially my kiddos) LOVED! Before I discuss actually making this recipe, though…I must share a story. I was talking to my mother about making Croque Monsieur for the first time, and how I would compare it to my Aunt Natalie’s version of Welsh Rarebit (or as my family says “Welch Rabbit”). My mother reminded me very gently about our trip to Paris when I was in Jr. High School, and ordering this dish at a cafe outside of Versailles….and our shock when it was served with a raw egg on top! Now, a raw egg in France is not uncommon…but it just kind of shocked our Southern Alabama selves to actually be served one! Okay, maybe it isn’t as funny a story to tell as it was to have been there….or maybe it is the pain meds. Who knows!
Onto my review. How can you go wrong with ham and cheese….and type of cheese? You can’t. My children thought it wass a great dish…especially Girly Girl who loves to watch Barefoot Contessa as much as I do!
The Barefoot In Paris recipe (I actually used the copy on Food Network.com) calls for white sandwich bread, but my dh is a bread snob and doesn’t eat white bread…so I used a whole grain wheatberry bread…full of nuts and seeds and stuff…I did cut the crust off of three sides, but had to leave the top, there are just too many great flavors in the top of this crust!
I was not intimidated at all with this recipe…you make a base for your cheese sauce and then pretty much just toast everything and plate it. Instead of making full sandwiches, I just made ours “open face”….and they were great! YUMMY!
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups hot milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch nutmeg
- 12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
- Dijon mustard
- 8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.
To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.
Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.
The only difference between the kiddos plate and our plate was that I left the Dijon Mustard off the kids….Girly Girl did try a piece with the Dijon Mustard, but I don’t think she liked it that much.
**Note: I ordered my first Barefoot Cookbook…Back to Basics! I can’t wait to get it and sit down to read it and cook out of it! Yip-ee!