Saturday, April 18, 2015

Crunchy Croque Monsieur

A Croque Monsieur is an inside-out grilled cheese!

I've been chowing down on this famous French sandwich since we moved here and I'm so pumped to share it during Grilled Cheese Month 2015.

Viola Le Croque Monsieur: an inside-out grilled cheese!

Croquer means 'to crunch' and the loud crunch it should make when you bite into it is how it got its name. Like the other great French sandwiches I've enjoyed, it has super simple ingredients: bread, ham, emmental cheese, for the inside, and melted Gruyere cheese on top.  

The tricky part of making this at home was finding the right bread. The beautiful artisan breads I love are also very holey, which isn't ideal for a grilled sandwich. Luckily, bakers are like pharmacists, since there are as many pharmacies here as there are bakeries, and if you go to one with a question, they can help you get what you need. So I went to the new bakery that just opened behind our house for some expert advice. The result was a very small, square loaf of bread, plucked fresh from the shelf. The slices were no bigger than small ceramic tiles in a bathroom, so I knew it would be a multiple Croque Monsieur meal.

Small bread makes a tasty, crunchy Croque Monsieur.
To create your own Croque Monsieur, you will need:

-Non-holey bread
-Emmental cheese
-Mustard (optional, but you know how I feel about my spicy mustard!)
-Gruyere cheese for the top


  1. Spread mustard on one slice of bread.
  2. Top with ham and slices of emmental.
  3. Assemble the other piece of bread.
  4. Sprinkle a thick layer of grated Gruyere on top.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven or toaster oven for 10 minutes/until the top is nicely melted and golden.  

Any kind of grilled cheese, inside and out, is a big favorite of mine but I can't deny that all that melted cheese alone is not super healthy. So I paired my Croque Monsieurs with another crunchy dish, a fresh Broccoli Salad, for a tasty serving of veggies and sweet fruit. 

Equally crunchy Broccoli Salad with apples and dried cranberries.

Prep for the Broccoli Salad:
  1. Rinse the broccoli and chop into bite-sized florerets.
  2. Chop up an apple and toss in a big handful of dried cranberries.
  3. Sprinkle with some grated cheese and toss in a cream dressing (to make a quick one, add some milk, white sugar and ground pepper to a big dollop of mayo and mix until thin.)
Mmm..crunch! What a lovely sound! The spicy mustard really made this Croque Monsieur pop! 

My stack of Croque Monsieurs was a great opportunity to break in my new sandwich tray! I found it in a fun gift shop on a recent trip to Brussels, Belgium. That shop reminded me of one of my favorite shops in Edmonton that closed last year, The Tin Box. I knew as soon as I saw the tray, it needed to come home with me and fulfill its purpose of serving up delicious sandwich meals. 

How awesome is this tray?! 

Happy Sandwich Making! Crunch!