Recently my friend came to visit me from New York. On Sunday I decided to take him to one of my favorite brunch (and dinner) spots. Gaslight, located in the South End, is intended to resemble a traditional Parisian brasserie, which it does with traditional French dishes such as Steak Frites and Duck Confit. For brunch they offer the usual egg dishes as well as French lunch and breakfast dishes. While I did not get a Croque Monsieur while I was there, it made me think. Why do I never make Croque Monsieur for lunch at home? Croque Monsieur is a traditional French ham and cheese sandwich served with béchamel sauce and is very popular in France for lunch. Here is what I did:
Ingredients (4 sandwiches): 8 slices of white bread, 8 slices of good quality ham (I used Virginia ham), 2 1/2 cups grated gruyere cheese, 1 cup of favorite cheese (I used grated mozzarella and parmesan mix), 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, 1 cup milk, 1 1/2 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon butter, salt and pepper to season, pinch of nutmeg
Preheat oven to 400 and toast bread for no longer than 5 minutes on each side until the bread becomes crispy and golden. Take the bread out of the oven and brush with Dijon mustard. Add 2 pieces of ham on top of 4 (of the eight) slices of bread.
Add 1/2 cup of grated gruyere on top of the ham.
Close the sandwich with the other slices of bread and place on a buttered baking tray. For the sauce, heat the milk on a stove or in a microwave. To a small pot, on medium heat, add the flour and the butter.
Stir continuously until the flour and butter become one mixture. Slowly whisk in the hot milk. Let the sauce thicken while stirring occasionally and then add 1/2 cup gruyere cheese, 1/2 cup cheese of your choice (again I used parmesan and mozzarella), salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Stir the sauce together and add on top of the closed sandwiches. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
Broil in the oven for 5 minutes and enjoy!