Sunday, March 21, 2010

Croque Madame & Get Together Update

Blogger Get Together Update
Back in late February, we posted THIS MESSAGE regarding a blogger get together and several fellow bloggers have expressed interest. We have now selected June 6 as the date and are just letting you know so you can pencil it on your calendar. We'll post again in late April with the details and ask RSVP's.

Note: This was started by a few food bloggers but is not limited to food bloggers. If you blog or if you're a foodie that doesn't blog, feel free to get involved.

Croque Madame
I have fallen in love with a new lady. She's a real classic, she's rich, she makes my mouth water, and she's....she's....she's a sandwich, the Croque Madame.

This is one of the free recipes at Rouxbe Online Cooking School. It was one of the suggested follow up recipes to the practice portion of some of the egg classes I've taken. I knew I was going to be enthralled with this one, how can you go wrong with a rich, cheesy Mornay sauce, the same topping for the Kentucky Hot Brown?

Mornay Sauce
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
pinch of white pepper
1/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

8 pieces bread (preferably something like Brioche or Italian)
2 tbsp. butter
8 to 16 pieces plain ham (1 or 2 per sandwich)
1 - 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 cups grated Gruyère cheese

2 tsp. butter
4 large eggs
salt and pepper (to taste)

To make the Mornay sauce, melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium low heat and then whisk in the flour. Keep stirring for about 2 minutes. Then whisk in the milk. I used half and half instead to make it even more creamy. Then reduce heat to low and add salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Keep whisking and add in your cheeses. Pecorino romano cheese was an excellent substitution for the parmesan cheese.

To make the sandwiches, lightly toast the bread. I skipped this step inadvertently and didn't realize it until writing this up. Didn't seem to matter. Top the bottom slice of bread with a little dijon mustard, 1-2 pieces of ham, about 1/4 cup of the Gruyère cheese, and about 2 tablespoons of the Mornay Sauce.

Top with another piece of bread and the generously ladle about 1/4 cup of Mornay sauce on top so it drips over the edges like so. Don't be stingy with it. Top with more Gruyère cheese. Oh yeah, it's a good idea to cover your pan with foil for easy clean up.
Place in a 400f oven for 3 minutes and then pop them under the broiler for about 1 minute or until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.

The recipe calls for topping it with a egg fried however you like them. I normally like mine over hard but in this case, I went with over easy. I also threw some more Gruyere on there.

The results were exceptional. The creamy cheese, runny yolk, hint of dijon, and the ham's saltiness had a riotous party in my mouth. This is a substantial meal. It's been almost two hours and I'm still full. I think I'll skip lunch today.
Back to the egg classes. I've viewed the videos, done most of the practice sessions, learned a lot, and got 100% on the quizzes but the one thing I have NOT been able to do is pan flip two fried eggs. I always break at least one of the yolks in the process. They tell you to practice and be patient but it's driving me nuts. Next weekend I'm going to buy 18 eggs and practice through the entire batch until I get it right.

Can you pan flip fried eggs? Any tips?