Recipe – Croque Monsieur

Croque Monsieur & Bellini
A ham and cheese toastie with a fancy name perhaps … but this is still one of my favourite weekend brunch dishes – also great for those lazy stay-at-home Sunday nights in front of the TV. Its origins are obscure, though some credit a brasserie on the Boulevard de Capucines in Paris. It appeared on French menus from around the early 1900s, the rather nonsensical name meaning ‘crunch-sir’. It may have been named by the French, but for me it’s always associated with Harry’s Bar in Venice … which is why I like to serve it with a Bellini.

Serves 2

Ingredients
  • 4 slices white sandwich bread
  • 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 100g Swiss Gruyere
  • 60g salted butter
  • 2 slices leg ham (about 100g)
Method
  1. Lay the bread on a chopping board.
  2. Spread 2 slices with mustard, taking it right out to the edges.
  3. Finely grate cheese over all 4 slices, pressing it down gently to keep it in place.
  4. Top 2 slices with ham and place the other 2 slices on top to form 2 sandwiches.
  5. Heat a large frying pan over low heat.
  6. Add butter, increase heat to medium and heat until it melts and just starts to brown.
  7. Add sandwiches and cook for about 2 minutes each side, until well browned, occasionally pressing down gently with an egg slice.
  8. Remove from the pan, cut in half and serve immediately.
FAQ

Where was croque monsieur invented?
The origin of croque monsieur is obscure, though some credit a brasserie on the Boulevard de Capucines in Paris.
What does croque monsieur mean?
The rather nonsensical name of this upmarket ham and cheese toastie means ‘crunch-sir’ in French.
Who made croque monsieur famous?
Although this is a French sandwich, it is famously associated with the iconic Harry’s Bar in Venice, where it’s served wrapped in a white napkin as a bar snack. Perfect with their other famous menu item, a white peach Bellini.
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