Heirloom Tomato Croque Madame
This is my version of a classic croque madame featuring Summer's finest: juicy, sweet heirloom tomatoes! If you've never had a croque madame or monsieur (same sandwich sans egg), it's basically a French grilled cheese with the volume turned waayyy up. Slices of white country bread, salty thin sliced ham, gooey, melty gruyere cheese, all topped with creamy and flavorful bechamel sauce and broiled in the oven to crispy, bubbly perfection. What's not to love?! I thought tomatoes would add a nice, bright acidic note to break up all that richness and it really is a delicious addition! And these are super easy to make, too! Like half an hour tops and you're sitting down to a pretty spectacular meal. It's great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or brunch too! Hope you enjoy and if you give it a try, be sure to share on Instagram using #allpurposeflourchild and tag me so I can see! Bon appetit!
Heirloom Tomato Croque Madame
makes 2 sandwiches
4 slices rustic bread (such as sourdough or a country loaf)
dijon mustard, for spreading on bread
1 c gruyere, grated (about 3-4 oz)
4 slices ham, thin-sliced
1-2 medium-ish heirloom tomato (will depend on size of tomatoes you have), sliced into 1/4 inch slices
béchamel sauce (recipe below)
softened butter, for buttering bread and frying eggs
2 T butter, unsalted
2 T all-purpose flour
3/4 c whole milk
few grates fresh nutmeg (or pinch of ground nutmeg)
1 T whole grain mustard
Himalayan pink salt, to taste
black pepper, freshly cracked, to taste
1 t fresh thyme, finely chopped (could also sub 1 teaspoon dried)
make the béchamel sauce
Preheat oven to 375 F. In a small saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until just warm. Set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and melt. Add in the flour and whisk the mixture for a about a minute or so until lightly foamy and bubbling, to cook out the raw flour taste. It should smell a little nutty. Slowly stream in the warm milk, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk for a minute or two, until the sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and add in the mustard, nutmeg, and thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set sauce aside.
make the sandwiches
Arrange two pieces of bread on a small baking sheet and spread a thin layer of dijon over each. Layer on two slices of ham on each piece of bread, then top each with about 1/2 a cup of gruyere, then layer on tomato slices. Season the tomatoes with a little flaky salt. Spread a little béchamel on the underside of the top piece of bread (enough to cover the bread) then flip it over so the béchamel meets the tomatoes and top the sandwiches. This will help hold the tomatoes in place. Spoon the remainder of the béchamel evenly over the on top of each sandwich and spread in an even layer. Pop in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melty and bubbly and béchamel has browned.
Meanwhile, let's fry some eggs! In a skillet over medium-high heat, add in a couple tablespoons of butter. Once melted, crack in two eggs and season with salt and pepper. Cook until whites are opaque and crisp around the edges but yolks are still runny. Remove from heat and set aside until sandwiches are done.
Once the sandwiches are done, simply top each with a fried egg and sprinkle on more chopped thyme if you'd like and serve! Bon appetit!