French food, while not the easiest to master, always impresses. You don't have to go all out, though -- and today, we're going to show you an easy, straightforward French classic that will have your next special occasion feeling classy and chic, no catering staff required.
Mini Croque Monseiurs
makes 16 minis
For the bechamel sauce:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup of whole milk, warmed over low heat
- 1/4 cup grated Jarlsberg cheese
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- 8 slices brioche or white bread, crusts trimmed
- 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
- 8 slices French ham (or Black Forest)
- 4 slices Jarlsberg cheese
- 1/4 stick butter, melted
- 1 cup bechamel sauce
- 1/4 cup Jarlsberg cheese, grated
For the sauce: Over low heat, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and stir for about one minute. Slowly pour in warmed milk and cook whisking constantly until the sauce thickens. Add the grated cheese off the heat and stir until it melts. Season with the nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Set the sauce aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush one side of eight bread slices with Dijon mustard. Place ham slice on top, cover with bechamel sauce, add second ham slice and one slice of Jarlsberg cheese. Finish with slice of bread; gently press on each sandwich.
Brush both sides of the sandwiches with the melted butter. Heat a non-stick pan and saute sandwiches over medium flame until golden brown on both sides. Transfer sandwiches to a parchment lined baking sheet. Cut each sandwich into quarters and top each quarter with bechamel sauce (save any extra for another use). Sprinkle grated cheese on top and place the baking sheet in oven. Bake 4 – 5 minutes until the cheese turns golden -- be careful not to let the cheese burn.
Great wine pairings for croque monsieurs? Champagne, of course! Or you could always go with a Bordeaux blend (red or make it a conversational wine with a white Bordeaux).
Recipe courtesy of Diane Gordon Catering, NYC and Jarlsberg Cheese.
Photo credit BakedBree.com.