I had the most amazing Croque Madame sandwich at Cafe de Flore when I was in Paris recently, and ever since I’ve been searching for the perfect recipe to match. It’s probably impossible. So much of the experience was ambience. (An upstairs table; Rainy Saturday afternoon; Restaurant packed with tourists and locals.)
I love this description of the Croque Madame by Kellina de Boer, editor of the fabulous blog, I Want to be a Roitfeld:
“This beloved French bar snack is traditionally made with melted Gruyère or Emmental cheese and ham, grilled to perfection between two slices of crusty bread perhaps dressed in a Mornay or Béchamel sauce with an egg sunny side up on top.
“In parts of Normandy they refer to this culinary comfort as croque-à-cheval. The decadent croque madame first appeared on menus in Paris in 1910 and in literature in Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things Past) in 1918.”
Here’s Kellina’s recipe for the perfect Croque Madame:
8 slices of bread
4 slices of ham
150 g grated cheese
60 g butter
20 cl whipping cream
1. Trim the edges of the slices of bread. Spread them with a little butter.
Cut thin slices of cheese and arrange on bread.
2. Add the slice of ham folded in half. Cover with another slice of buttered bread.
3. In a bowl, add grated cheese, heavy cream, and a pinch of pepper and salt. Mix.
4. On toasted bread place a spoonful of the mixture of grated cheese and cream.
Spread it gently on the slice of bread and reserve. Preheat oven to 360° F.
5. Just before serving, broil in oven 3-4 minutes.
6. In a skillet fry eggs. Place an egg on each croque madame and serve hot.