Croque Madame

Summer and eggs go hand and hand, connected by a shared promise of rebirth and renewal. As the season in Sarasota unfolds, I find myself craving farm-fresh, pastured eggs. Farm-fresh eggs are incredibly versatile in the kitchen. They can take center stage at breakfast—fried, poached, scrambled, and as omelets. And with minimal preparation, they offer endless prospects for lunch, dinner, and even crowd-pleasing finger foods. Easy to fix, affordable, and incredibly tasty, fresh eggs just might be the perfect food.
By / Photography By Kathryn Brass-Piper | April 01, 2015

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup coarsely grated Gruyère cheese, divided
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ pound thinly-sliced, Black Forest ham
  • 2 large eggs

Preparation

Heat oven to broil.

Make the béchamel sauce: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Add milk and salt and whisk constantly until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in nutmeg and ½ cup cheese.

Make the sandwiches: Place bread slices on a baking sheet. Spread mustard evenly on 2 slices of bread and top with ham, dividing evenly. Evenly spread half of béchamel sauce on remaining 2 slices of bread, and top with remaining cheese, dividing equally. Close sandwiches by inverting ham sides on to cheese sides.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add sandwiches to pan and cook, turning once, until golden brown and cheese is melted, 3–4 minutes. Transfer sandwiches back to baking sheet and top with remaining béchamel sauce, spreading evenly. Broil sandwiches on top rack until sauce is bubbly and golden in spots, about 2 minutes.

Melt remaining tablespoon of butter in same skillet over medium high heat. Crack eggs into pan and fry, covered, until whites are set and yolks are still runny, 2–3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and then use a spatula to top each sandwich with an egg. Serve immediately.

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Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup coarsely grated Gruyère cheese, divided
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ pound thinly-sliced, Black Forest ham
  • 2 large eggs
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