Have leftover ham after the holiday? Try a deliciously toasty French classic, the Croque Monsieur. Simply said, it is a toasted ham and cheese with Béchamel sauce on the top which is broiled until golden brown. This glamorous sandwich is fantastic party food because you can make a ton of them at one time using a sheet pan or you can slice a loaf lengthwise and make one large sandwich, slicing into wedges to serve. Chez fan-tas-tique!
For 2; simply multiply if you want to make for a crowd
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 slices bread- if using sandwich bread, cut the crusts off. I like loaf bread sliced 1 1/2” thick
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
½ cup grated cheese I like Gruyere and Parmesan but use whatever I have
A pinch nutmeg plus ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt, and a dash white pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon
2-3 slices of leftover ham, sliced medium thickness
Preheat the broiler of your oven or toaster oven with the rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with foil. Sit out the milk before using it so it is not super cold.
Put the butter in a pan over a medium-low heat. Using a pastry brush, brush one side of each slice of bread with a bit of melted butter and put under the broiler until golden brown. Set aside.
Next, over medium-low heat, stir the flour into the remaining butter to make a paste. Cook and stir for one minute, then gradually whisk in the milk, a little at a time, until smooth. Simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. You know it is ready when you can draw a line down the back of the spoon with your finger and it stays separated. Remove from the heat. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper; check seasoning.
Spread the untoasted sides of the bread with Dijon, then put the ham on top, followed by the half the cheese. Broil for 3-4 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and melted.
Top with the other slice of bread. Press down; I use a large spatula for this. Put the sandwiches on to the baking sheet you prepared and top with Béchamel sauce, allowing some to drip over the sides of the bread. Top each with the remaining cheese. Broil for about 5 minutes or until golden and bubbling, and serve immediately.