History of Croque Monsieur
History of World Cuisines
The French name Croque Monsieur translates to “Crisp
Mister” and is basically a cooked cheese and ham sandwich,
traditionally made with gruyere cheese and thinly sliced ham.
The name is sometimes shortened to Croque.
The first Croque Monsieur was simply a hot ham and cheese sandwich
which was fried in butter - one step further than what some believe was
the original which was accidentally created when French workers
left the tins containing their lunches of sandwiches on hot radiators
whilst they worked. By the time they came to eat them, the
heat of the radiators had melted the cheese.
It's not known who had the idea of embellishing the recipe by
frying the sandwich until crisp and golden, however they
first appeared on menus in Parisian cafés in 1910, and the
earliest written reference is thought to have been by the
novelist Proust in his 1918 work titled À la recherche du temps perdu (In
search of lost time).
Over the years, further changes were made to the basic recipe, in particular the
addition of mustard and a béchamel sauce. Whilst this complicated an otherwise
simple recipe, versions made this way are sumptuous and relatively filling
and well worth the extra attention.
Then came the variations including:-
The addition of a fried egg served on top - a Croque Madame
The addition of tomatoes - a Croque Provençal
The substitution of blue cheese for Gruyere - a Croque Auvergnat
The substitution of smoked salmon for the ham - a Croque Norvégien
Croque Monsieur Recipes
Below is a recipe for a full blown version of a Croque Monsieur which is
fabulous for lunch served with French fries and a dressed salad.
A more simple version would be to make a cheese and ham sandwich in the usual
way, then fry in butter until crisp and golden on both sides.
Alternatively, spread the outside on your sandwich with plenty of butter and
cook under a very hot grill until well browned on both sides.
HT MC French 20mins
Serves 4 Hot Pork
Lunch Main Course
8 slices Sandwich Bread
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
8 thin slices of Ham
176g/6oz Gruyere cheese, grated
2 tbsp Butter, softened
120ml/4fl.oz. COLD Bechamel or Thick
1. Preheat the grill to hot. Spread 4 slices of bread with the mustard
then top each with a slice of ham.
2. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the cheese and divide the remaining cheese between
the ham topped slices of bread, sprinkling it evenly over the ham.
3. Place the 4 remaining sliced of ham on the cheese and top with the remaining
4 slices of bread to make a sandwich.
Place the sandwiches on a baking sheet, butter the top slices with the butter
then grill for 4- 5 minutes until well browned and crisp.
5. Turn them over, and grill for a further 3-4 minutes until well toasted
6. Remove from the grill, turn them over again then spread the top of each
with the cold béchamel sauce, sprinkle with the reserved cheese, place back
under the very hot grill and cook until golden and bubbling. Serve