Food & Wine

Croque-Monsier

The cover of the Tri-City Herald's Food & Wine section July 15 will feature tips and techniques for freezing produce and other foods. Inside you’ll find more recipes plus buying, cooking and health tips on a variety of food-related subjects.

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Croque-Monsier

Prep: 25 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Makes: 4 sandwiches

Ham and cheese, with a dab of mustard. There is nothing new about that flavor combination, but this supreme interpretation of the ham and cheese sandwich makes a case for getting it into your life a little more often. It’s a rich recipe, which you really shouldn’t eat very often, but when you do you should do it right. This version - which incorporates several versions, including one by Ina Garten - is especially good if you get your hands on high-quality ham: jambon de Paris, Black Forest, etc.

Ingredients

3 1/2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon salt or to taste

freshly ground pepper

dash nutmeg

8 slices ( 1/2-inch thick) sandwich or French bread

8 ounces baked him, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, optional

4 cups grated Gruyere cheese

Instructions

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the flour until smooth; cook 1 minute. Whisk in milk, stirring, until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter in small saucepan. Place bread slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet; toast in oven, about 4 minutes per side. Brush each side with the melted butter. Spread each slice with a layer of the sauce. Top each of 4 toast slices with 2 slices of the ham, trimmed to fit the bread. Top the ham with 1 teaspoon of the mustard. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese over the ham slices and over the remaining 4 slices of toast. Top the ham slices with the other slices, cheese side up. Bake until cheese is golden, about 11 minutes. Heat broiler; broil until browned on top, about 2 minutes. Cut diagonally to serve.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 809 calories, 54 percent of calories from fat, 49 g fat, 28 g saturated fat, 173 mg cholesterol, 43 g carbohydrates, 51 g protein, 1,513 mg sodium, 1.6 g fiber

From: The Flavor Bible by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page (Little, Brown, $35).

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