Sandwiches, Lesson #2 - The Open Face Croque Monsieur

A sandwich is a combination of one or more varieties of food items, such as cheese, vegetables or meat, put together and placed on top or in between slices of bread as ready-to-eat food. Sandwiches are generally eaten as a snack or could be served as lunch or dinner, even taken to work, school or picnics as packed food. Depending on the kind of filling, they could be savory or sweet.

Food historians generally attribute the creation of the sandwich as we know it today, to John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. This Englishman was said to have been fond of gambling and as the story goes, in 1762, during a 24-hour gambling streak, he instructed a cook to prepare his food in such a way that it would not interfere with his game.

The cook innovatively presented him with sliced meat placed in between two pieces of toast, this worked very well as it stayed long and could easily be eaten with one hand without any cutlery, thus leaving the other hand free to continue with the game.

To learn more about the popular sandwiches around the world, you can go through the introductory lesson - Sandwiches... Ideas Between Slices.

Sandwich Recipe of the Day - The Open Face Croque Monsieur

About Open Face Croque Monsieur

The name here is based on the word Croque implying "crispy" and the word Monsieur meaning "mister".

It was believed that the concept of this sandwich accidently came to be, when French workers left their lunch pails by a hot radiator and came back later to discover the cheese in their sandwiches had melted.

However, no one knows for sure that theory is true, but we do know that the sandwich's first appearance was on a Parisian cafe menu in 1910 and its earliest mention in literature appears to be in the volume two of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time in 1918.

The Croque Monsieur is a classic French ham and cheese sandwich covered in cheesy béchamel. It becomes a Croque Madame when a fried egg is placed on top of it.

Croque Monsieur is casually referred to as a Croque and has many recipe variations, as it has cooks. This crunchy sandwich is served as an appetizer, snack, or a casual meal.

This Dish

The open Croque Monsieur is a contemporary take on the traditional dish that consists of lightly toasted bun, layered with the tender chicken mortadella and warm bacon, topped with cheesy béchamel sauce and baked/gratinated in the oven.

Recipe Card (to serve 4 pax)

Ingredients Quantity
French rolls / hamburger buns 4 pieces
Dijon mustard  1 tbsp
Butter  as required
Chicken mortadella (thinly sliced) 8 pieces
Beef bacon 8 pieces
For the Sauce
Butter  2 tbsp
Flour  2 tbsp
Milk 1 ½ cups
Ground nutmeg  1/8 tsp
Salt & pepper  as required
Gruyere cheese (grated)  1 ¼ cups
Parsley (chopped)  1 tsp

Method of Cooking

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/ 350°F.
  2. In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium to low heat. Stir in flour until it forms a roux. Cook for 1 minute without coloring, then whisk in the milk a little at a time. Continue stirring until sauce thickens, for about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and the gruyere cheese. Set aside.
  3. Slice the buns in half and toast in a pan until slightly golden, take out a set aside. In the same pan, fry the bacon until lightly crisp.
  4. Slice rolls in half and spread Dijon mustard over each half. Place in to a baking dish. Top each with 2 slices of chicken mortadella and 1 slice beef bacon.
  5. Pour cheese sauce over top and sprinkle with remaining gruyere cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes until hot and golden brown on top. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

 

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