The Classic Croque-Monsieur

Yield: Makes 2 sandwiches

Photo and recipe by Renee Kohlman


2 Tbs unsalted butter

2 Tbs all-purpose flour

1 cup (240 mL) whole milk

1 pinch nutmeg

1 bay leaf

4 slices country white bread (or other firm white sandwich bread)

120 g ham, thinly sliced

120 g Gruyère cheese, sliced

2 Tbs melted butter

½ cup grated Gruyère cheese


  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the flour and stir for one minute. This will “cook out” the flour.
  2. Gradually whisk in the milk, add the nutmeg and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to whisk constantly until sauce is thick, about 3 minutes.
  3. Preheat broiler.
  4. Lay two pieces of bread on cutting board. Top with equal parts sliced cheese and ham. Place the other two bread slices on top and brush all sides with melted butter.
  5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sandwiches, fry for about 3 minutes on each side until golden brown and then transfer sandwiches to baking sheet.
  6. Spoon Bechamel sauce evenly on top of the sandwiches. Top with shredded Gruyère cheese. Place baking sheet under the broiler. Broil for 2-3 minutes, watching closely. Remove from oven when cheese is bubbling and brown.

Some worldly variations of the Croque-Monsieur

Croque Provençal - with tomato

Croque Señor - with salsa

Croque Hawaiian - with pineapple slice

Croque Gagnet - with Gouda cheese and andouille sausage

Croque Norvégian - with smoked salmon instead of ham

Croque Bolognese/Boum-Boum - with Bolognese Sauce

Croque Madame - a Croque Monsieur with a poached or fried egg on top.

The dome of the egg apparently resembles an old fashioned woman’s hat. How’s that for food lore?

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