“After one taste of French food … I was hooked. I’d never eaten like that before, I didn’t know such food existed. The wonderful attention paid to each detail of the meal was incredible to me. I’d never really drunk good wine before, and knew nothing at all about it. It was simply a whole new life experience.”
This Thursday we start our Cook N Bake: French Series, inspired by the elegant and memorable culinarian journey that we experienced during our latest trip to the fascinating capital of France, Paris. To inaugurate this new series that will celebrate the French cuisine for the next month, Rometti decided to let you discover the Parisian flavors by starting with a simple recipe that everyone can easily replicate at home, the Croque-Madame.
Croque-Madame is a variation of the original Croque-Monsieur, a hot ham and cheese sandwich which takes its name after the French verb croquer, “to crunch”, and monsieur, “mister”, and born as a fast snack appeared for the first time in a Parisian Cafe’ on the boulevard des Capucines in 1920. Croque Madame differs from Croque-Monsieur because of a fried or poached egg on top, believed to resemble a lady’s hat. The Croque-Madame, as well as the Croque-Monsieur, can be made with different kinds of cheese (gruyere, Gouda, Swiss, bleu d’Auvergne cheese…) and ham can be substituted by other cold cuts such as turkey or chicken, as the French chef Jacques Pepin did on an episode/cookbook of the Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home series in which he worked with nothing less than Julia Child (who by the way yesterday would have turned 100 years old!).
For a successful Croque-Madame you will need to use the freshest sliced bread you can get, white, with cereals, or you can even try with an English muffin or an American bagel.
2 soft white bread slices
2 thin slices of ham
room temperature butter
2 thin slices of gruyere cheese
Take the two bread slices and spread them with butter on one side. On one slice lay 2 slice of cheese, and then the 2 slices of ham. Top it with the other bread slice having the side with the butter touching the ham. Set aside.
In the meantime warm up the oven to 465 F (240 C).
Take about 1 oz of butter and melt it into a small nonstick pan. Melt another 1 oz of butter in another little pan.
When the butter start sizzling, pour in the egg without breaking the yolk. Pour the rest of the melted butter on top of the egg, cook for about 2 minutes and then put the pan into the oven until the yolk is cooked to desire.
Grill the Croque-Monsieur on both sides, into a toaster or on a pan, and when the egg is ready gently put it on top of the croque which is now a Croque-Madame!
Eat while it’s still hot.
Image by Radvaner: http://www.bernardradvaner.com