A cafe mainstay, this hot satisfying inexpensive grilled ham sandwich comes with an egg or without (the Croque Monsieur). Croquer means to crunch.
Here’s a recipe:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 1/2 ounces coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (1 1/3 cups)
8 slices firm white sandwich bread
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 pound thinly sliced cooked ham
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, then whisk in flour and cook 1 minute. Add milk and continue stirring until thick. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, and 1/3 cup cheese.
Spread 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce evenly over each of 4 slices of bread, then sprinkle evenly with remaining cheese (1/4 cup per slice). Spread mustard evenly on remaining 4 bread slices and top with ham, dividing it evenly, then invert onto cheese-topped bread to form sandwiches.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately low heat, then cook sandwiches, turning over once, until golden. Remove from heat and transfer sandwiches to baking pan.
Top each sandwich with 1/3 cup sauce, spreading evenly. Broil sandwiches 4 to 5 inches from heat until sauce is bubbling and golden.
For the Madame, top each sandwich with a fried or poached egg and serve immediately.
Some places where this classic dish is served:
Café de la Comédie
57 rue St Honoré 75001
metro: Palais Royal/Musée du Louvre
Café de Flore
172 Boulevard Saint-Germain 75006
Café La Source
49 bd de la Tour Maubourg 75007
Café La Belle Férronnière
53 Rue Pierre Charron, 75008
La Place Royale
2bis Place des Vosges 75004
Le Village Monge
96 rue Monge 75005
metro: Jardin des Plantes/Austerlitz
79 bd Sébastopol 75002
metro: Arts & Métiers/Rambuteau
Price: 6 to 10 euros, depending on the establishment. Bon appetite!