In any French bistro anywhere in the world you will most certainly find two things on the menu – French wine and croque monsieur. In the US, croque monsieur is simply known as a ham and cheese sandwich – quite plain and uninteresting. But in France, or any French restaurant for that matter, the traditional ham and cheese sammie is transformed into something spectacular – le croque monsieur – an ooey gooey creation, served hot and steamy like a French sub-titled movie.
Croque monsieur translates to “crispy mister” in English, because the sandwich is often fried, similar to a grilled cheese in America. Although an original croque monsieur is made with thick artisan or country bread, not to mention quality ham and Swiss or gruyere cheese, other variations have popped up over the years:
- Croque Madame – similar to the monsieur but with a fried egg on top and covered with Béchamel sauce
- Croque Provencal – a monsieur base but includes such extras as tomatoes, Raclette cheese, and herbed mayonnaise.
- Croque Tartiflette – a monsieur with melted Reblochon cheese, sliced potatoes, and, of course, Béchamel sauce
Are you partial to the Croque monsieur or madame? My answer – Qui, Qui!
Ciao and Bon Appetit!