Tuesday, September 20, 2011

FINALLY -- Croque Monsieur from 400 Best Sandwich Recipes by Alison Lewis

I am FINALLY getting around to posting my review of 400 Best Sandwich Recipes by Alison Lewis, which was sent to me by my friends at the Lisa Ekus Group--Where I interned two summers ago. Interning for Lisa definitely revived my love of cooking, and gave me tons of culinary inspiration. In fact, it was one of the pushes that convinced me I needed to start a cooking blog! (The other big push being stumbling across the amazing Can You Stay For Dinner? Which proved to me you can have a cooking blog blended with a personal blog and the results are beautiful)

Anyways, I feel bad that they were so nice as to send me TWO cook books--the other being 300 Best Taco Recipes by Kelley Cleary Coffeen which I will get to eventually I promise AND The Literary Lady's Guide to Writing by the amazing Nava Atlas--and here I am, months later, finally cracking into them. But better late than never, right? When they asked me what kind of things I like to cook, and I responded with "Um, things 20-somethings eat?" this is what they gave me. PERFECT. And tacos truly are one of my favorite foods, so I'll be sure to browse through that one soon too :)

Anyway, 400 Best Sandwich Recipes is amazing. It seriously made me rethink my sandwich repertoire. Mere turkey and cheese just won't cut it anymore. I love how no sandwich is left behind in this book: breakfast, lunch, burgers, international sandwiches (VERY cool!), and even DESSERT. I've never thought of a crepe as a sandwich but now that I think about it, it SO is! And brie, my most favorite of cheeses, is heavily featured throughout. Excellent. This lady knows my style. I need to amp up my lunch box and try out sandwiches like Grilled Peaches and Mozerella, Stuffed Pizza Burgers, Quiona Tabbouleh Wraps!

To pair with my Leek and Zucchini Soup with Bacon I decided to make an old favorite. Honestly, I knew I needed to use this book and I assumed my old favorite Croque Monsieur HAD to be in it, so I figured I'd get the stuff I thought I needed and use it as a recipe to feature in this book. Guess what? I am SO GLAD I referenced the book in my cooking, otherwise I would have missed this crucial step: French-Toasting the bread!--Okay, so it's not technically called "French-Toasting," but I thought a Croque was just a fancy grilled cheese with ham.

Boy was I wrong. Dipping the bread in the egg and milk mixture turns a mere grilled-cheese-with-ham into the beautiful, delicious hybrid of French Toast and Grilled Cheese.

Croque Monsieurs were my lunch every day I was in Paris, both last year and when I visited while studying abroad. If I close my eyes I can almost feel the crisp October air on my face as I bite through the crust of the baguette and taste the tangy mustard and creamy gruyere while walking through the Tuileries... le sigh. How I miss that place...

Croque Monsieur
(From 400 Best Sandwich Recipes by Alison Lewis)
(Serves 4)

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 slices white or french bread
  • 1/3 cup Dijon Mustard
  • 8 oz thinly sliced ham
  • 8 oz Gruyere cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbs butter

-In a shallow dish, whisk together milk and eggs. Set aside.

-Place bread slices on a work surface. Spread mustard equally over 4 bread slices. Arrange ham and cheese equally over mustard and top with remaining bread slices, pressing together gently. Dip sandwiches, one at a time, in milk mixture, turning to coat.

-In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Fry sandwiches for 3 minutes per side or until golden. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

**Extra step, added by me** I put an additional slice of gruyere on top of mine, sprinkled with some parsely, and popped it in the oven at 400 degrees F in order to get it even more crispy. The plan was to wait until it was a bit crisp, but I got hungry and impatient so I took it out early. Oh well, I feel like ten minutes would do. I ate it with a knife and fork (dipping in the soup of course), it was lovely!


  1. Ooooh, so THAT is what a croque monsieur is. It looks delicious!

  2. That looks absolutely delicious! Your soup too! I'm so happy soup weather is almost here.

  3. I'm alwaaaays looking for ways to jazz up the basic sandwich. This book looks like the perfect tool for it! Peaches in a sandwich = genius.

  4. This sounds like a crazy awesome cookbook! I foresee it producing about a gazillion exciting lunches. Croque monsieurs are WAY more than grilled cheese...they are basically heaven. This looks great!