Since it’s the heart of soup season here in Wisconsin, we’ve been looking for some tasty, comforting sandwiches to serve along side our favorite soups. We found a winner in the warm, cheesy Croque Monsieur. The Croque Monsieur, as you’ve probably guessed, is a French sandwich. It’s basically a play on the hot ham and cheese sandwich but dipped in beaten egg and then sautéed (à la French Toast).
We’ve been using our applewood smoked boneless ham for this sandwich; sliced thin and piled on two pieces of bread (we like anything crusty – even a sourdough). You will want a slice of bread thick enough to hold up to all of the other ingredients but not so thick that you can’t take a nice, big bite of the sandwich when it’s ready. The favorite cheese for the Croque Monsieur has always been a nice gruyère although a good, nutty Swiss is just fine by us and goes tremendously well with the rich, smoky flavor of our applewood smoked ham. Dipping the sandwich in egg and sautéing it does take some practice, so plan ahead for some small messes at first.
We should tell you that there’s another version of this sandwich; the Croque Madame. In France, this is simply a Croque Monsieur, in all of its ham-and-cheesy glory, served with a fried egg on top. Here in the States, a Croque Madame is often served without the traditional fried or poached egg but with the ham swapped out for chicken or turkey. Of course, we’re partial to the applewood smoked version of either poultry. A really over-the-top way to make this up is with applewood smoked turkey, loads of gruyère, AND to serve it with the fried egg on top. Remember to serve it with a fork and a cup of your favorite soup.