We continue our Dinner with Drake's series with another recipe from Maxime Alary, proprietor of London's premier French bistro, Blanchette. This time around it’s an enduring French classic, the croque monsieur.
Illustration by Amanda Berglund.
One of our signatures, you can eat the croque monsieur for breakfast, lunch or dinner. At home, I always prepare a big batch and freeze half of it. When I have a last minute call, friends coming for a quick drink or even a coffee, it’s the best snack. My kids always ask for it when we come back from the park.
For the best results use a large lasagne tray or similar.
2 loaves of white sliced bread , crusts removed , toasted on one side
Smoked cooked ham approx. 400g
1 packet of melted butter
600g grated cheddar or emmental or cheddar
- Line a semi deep tray with greaseproof paper
- Brush with melted butter
- Brush toasted side of bread with butter and place cooked side down in the tray.
- Coat very liberally with some of the béchamel and scatter over a layer of cheese
- Then a layer of ham (don’t overlap the ham to much)
- Now take the remaining toast and spread a layer of béchamel over the un-toasted side and place on top of the ham and cheese toasted side up
- Now brush with melted butter
- Coat with a very thin layer of béchamel
- Add another layer of grated cheese
- Bake at 200 degrees for 20 -30 minutes until nicely golden
- Let everything rest for 30 minutes
- Leave it in the fridge for an hour.
Cut a portion of croque monsieur and fry it in a hot pan with olive oil, turn the croque monsieur on each side then put the pan in a hot oven for 5 minutes.
Serve it onto a plate with a salad and a mustard dressing.
For the Mustard Béchamel
1 litre milk
250 ml double cream
1 chopped onion
4 clove garlic smashed
200 grams butter
Salt and pepper to taste
- Infuse milk and cream with herbs and onion.
- Cook out roux ,
- Pass milk mix
- Add bit by bit to roux
- Cook out for at least 15 mins on a low heat
- For croque monsieur add about 4 kitchen spoons of Dijon mustard to béchamel to make very mustardy!
For the Moustarde Dressing
Mix two spoons of mayonnaise with two spoons of Dijon mustard. Add more mustard if you want it stronger.