bechamel

Croque Madam



I am  trying to vindicate the Croque Madame, who has been so brutally mistreated in so many kitchens lately that her true identity has been all but forgotten 😦
During the past couple of years I have ordered a croque monsieur (without fried egg)  or croque madam (with fried egg) on several occasions late at night, usually in a hotel lobby or nightclub. What I have been served on every occasion has been less than stellar, to say the least. Typically what is being served nowadays is a grilled cheese sandwich wich has been stuffed with a few thin slices of ham and american sliced cheddar, topped with more sliced cheddar and then finished under the broiler. This is no doubt a fine ham and cheese sandwich but that’s where the similarities with a croque mensieur or croque madame end.
Both croques in it’s original form should be prepared in the following way:
Toast slices of rustic bread, top with bechamel to which a fine mustard has been added. Top first slice with cooked ham and lot’s of shredded  Gruyere Cheese , top with a second slice of bread, cover with mustard-bechamel and plenty more shredded gruyere. Sprinkle with herbs de province or other herbs of your choice. Bake at 425 F until the bechamel/cheese bubbles.
There you have it – Croque Monsieur ! Top with fried egg for Croque Madame !

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !

Croque Madam

Croque Madam

Croque Madam

Croque Madam



Preparation :

mise en place

mise en place

toast thick slices of sour dough bread on bothe sides, mix bechamel with grey poupon mustard

toast thick slices of sour dough bread on both sides, mix bechamel with grey poupon mustard

top bread with mustard-bechamel

top bread with mustard-bechamel

top with grated gruyere

top with grated gruyere

saute thick slice of ham on both sides

saute thick slice of ham on both sides

top first bread with ham, sprinkle with grated cheese and scallions or herbs of your choice

top first bread with ham, sprinkle with grated cheese and scallions or herbs of your choice

top with second slice of bread, sprinkle with scallions or herbs of your choice

top with second slice of bread, sprinkle with scallions or herbs of your choice

bake until cheese and sauce bubble

bake until cheese and sauce bubble

almost.....

almost…..

meanwhile, fry eggs, season with cosher salt and chili flakes

meanwhile, fry eggs, season with cosher salt and chili flakes

Croque Madam

Croque Madam

Croque Madam

Croque Madam

 

Croque Madam

Croque Madam

Croque Madam

Croque Madam






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Creamed Spinach

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Like  so much other comfort food, creamed spinach is hardly found on menus (or homes, for that matter) anymore, with the exception of steakhouses where it usually is one of the standard side dishes. I just love spinach, no matter how it is prepared, but the price goes without a doubt to creamed spinach. Following is the simple instruction how to prepare this great dish.

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach

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blanch spinach in generously salted water.

blanch spinach in generously salted water.

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shock in ice water ( screaming BOOOOO does not work )

shock in ice water ( screaming BOOOOO does not work )

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saute onions and garlic in butter

saute onions and garlic in butter

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add flour (ratio butter flour = one to one)

add flour (ratio butter flour = one to one)

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add half milk and half heavy cream, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Simmer for five minutes. sauce must be VERY thick, chopped spinach contains lot's of water

add half milk and half heavy cream, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Simmer for five minutes. sauce must be VERY thick, chopped spinach contains lot’s of water

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chop blanched spinach to the texture you prefer

chop blanched spinach to the texture you prefer

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add to sauce. simmer for 5 minutes. check/adjust seasoning

add to sauce. Simmer for five minutes. check/adjust seasoning

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Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach

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