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Croque Madame

by Tom Aikens from Tom Aikens: Easy

A tasty Croque Madame recipe from Tom Aikens. The French inspired toasted cheese sandwich is topped with a fried egg and a simple salt and pepper seasoning.

Introduction

This is a Croque Monsieur, with a fried egg on top.

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Ingredients

For the Croque Monsieur:
8 slices of white milk bread or brioche
Butter
8 slices of cooked ham
Dijon mustard
Gruyere, or Cheddar cheese, grated
For the white sauce:
25g unsalted butter
35g flour
400ml milk
1 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
For the fried egg:
vegetable oil
4 eggs
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

First, make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat, then add the flour and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Meanwhile, heat the milk gently in a separate pan – do not let it boil. Pour the milk little by little into the flour and butter mix, stirring all the time – keep the heat low so the sauce doesn't catch and burn on the bottom of the pan.

Season with salt and pepper and bring the sauce to a slow simmer. Continue to cook for 5 minutes over a low heat, stirring constantly. It should be lump-free, but if there are any lumps, pass the sauce through a fine sieve.

Toast the slices of bread on one side and butter the toasted side. Lay the slices of ham on the toasted side of 4 of the slices and dab with a little mustard. Spread on some of the white sauce and add some cheese and a little more white sauce. Top with the rest of the slices of toast, toasted and buttered side down, and sandwich together, pressing lightly. Then toast one side under a hot grill, turn it over, add more white sauce and cheese and grill the top until golden.

While the sandwiches are toasting, fry the eggs.

Place a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Crack in the eggs one by one and season with salt and pepper. Fry for 3-4 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs done. If you want the yolk cooked more firmly, spoon over a little of the hot oil for a few minutes. Add the eggs to the croques.

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