This decadently delicious Croque Madame sandwich is the perfect lunch or brunch that is sure to impress both your tastebuds and your guests!
This Croque Madame is possibly my favorite sandwich of all time! Tangy sourdough bread topped with a homemade Mornay sauce, thick cut deli ham then topped with melted shredded gruyere and parmesan cheese and a perfectly runny egg. C'est magnifique!
This recipe makes two sandwiches but it can easily be doubled, tripled or even quadrupled for a gathering or holiday celebration. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Croque Madame vs Croque Monsieur
This Croque Madame recipe is not to be confused with the other popular French sandwich, the Croque Monsieur. While both contain a béchamel inspired sauce, ham and gruyere cheese, the primary difference is in the use of the egg. With a Croque Monsieur the bread is typically dipped into egg before it is cooked. While with a Croque Madame the egg is fried or poached and then served on top of the sandwich.
Both are delicious but I have to say I am partial to this Croque Madame recipe!
Béchamel vs Mornay Sauce
While most classic recipes for Croque Madame sandwiches use a simple béchamel sauce, I prefer using a Mornay sauce in this recipe. A Mornay sauce is basically the same as a béchamel, consisting of butter, flour and milk or cream. But it's been enriched with shredded cheese, such as gruyere or parmesan. I believe adding the cheese to the sauce really increasing the flavor and texture of this delicious sandwich!
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For this recipe you will need:
- Sauce pan and whisk: This Caraway Nonstick Ceramic Sauce Pan is one of my favorites!
- Foil lined baking sheet
- Sourdough bread slices: While you can use any bread that you would like, including brioche, I love the slight tang that fresh sourdough gives this recipe.
- Butter: I recommend using a high quality unsalted butter such as Kerrygold Butter.
- All-purpose flour
- Whole milk: I recommend using whole milk for best possible flavor and texture but 2% will do in a pinch. I do not recommend using skim milk for this recipe.
- Bay leaf
- Fresh nutmeg: I think a little freshly grated nutmeg adds beautiful flavor to the Mornay sauce. If you don't have fresh nutmeg you can use a pinch of ground nutmeg or leave it out all together.
- Dijon mustard: You can substitute with wholegrain if preferred.
- Gruyere and Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated is always best!
- Thick cut ham: Any good quality deli ham will work. I love using Black Forest Ham.
- Salt & pepper
- Flaky sea salt: I love the salty crunch that flaky sea salt gives to this and almost any dish. My favorite is Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.
- Watercress microgreens: You can top this sandwich with any fresh herb of your choice, including fresh parsley or thyme. I personally love serving is with watercress microgreens. I get mine at Sprouts but you can get them at most grocery stores.
Step by Step Instructions
Start by toasting your bread in a little butter. You only need to toast one side of each slice to a nice golden brown.
Then make a Mornay sauce by sauteeing butter and flour. Then stream in whole milk and whisk over medium heat until thickened. Add in dijon mustard, freshly grated nutmeg and gruyere cheese with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir until thick and creamy.
Preheat the oven to a broil and line a baking sheet with tin foil.
Then begin to assemble the sandwiches. Spread a couple tablespoons of Mornay sauce on each of the un-toasted sides of the bread. Then top with a couple slices of ham and a few tablespoons of shredded gruyere cheese.
Replace the top piece of bread then spread the remaining Mornay sauce on top of the sandwiches and cover with shredded gruyere and parmesan cheese.
Place in the oven to broil for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
While the sandwiches are in the oven fry up an egg by melting a little butter in a skillet and cooking until the whites are firm but the yolk is still runny.
Remove the sandwiches from the oven and top with the egg. Serve hot and enjoy!
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Made these Croque Madame sandwiches? Let me know what you think about the recipe in the comments!
- sauce pan and whisk
- tin foil lined baking sheet
- 4 large slices sourdough bread
- 2.5 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tbsp all purpose flour
- ⅔rd cup whole milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- pinch of nutmeg I recommend freshly grated
- ¾th cup shredded gruyere cheese, divided
- ¼th cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 4 thick cut slices of good quality ham I like using black forest ham
- 2 eggs
- Melt about ½ a tbsp of butter in a skillet on medium to medium high heat. Lay 2 slices of bread in the skillet and toast one side until golden brown (leaving one side un-toasted). Remove the toasted bread and melt an additional ½ tbsp of butter in the skillet and repeat the process with the remaining 2 slices of bread. Set aside and wipe the skillet clean.
- Preheat the oven to a broil. Then make the Mornay sauce. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a sauce pan over medium to medium high heat, then add 1 tbsp of flour and cook for about a minute. Stream in the milk whilst stirring and add in 1 bay leaf. Cook the sauce for a couple of minutes until it has thickened. Then remove the sauce from the heat and stir in ¼th cup of shredded gruyere cheese, 1 tsp of Dijon mustard, a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth.
- In a small bowl mix together ½ cup of shredded gruyere cheese and ¼ cup of shredded parmesan cheese. Set aside. Lay out the 4 slices of bread and spread on a couple tablespoons of Mornay sauce on the un-toasted side of each piece. On two of the slices layer on a couple pieces of ham followed by a couple tablespoons of the shredded cheese. Replace the remaining slices of bread, toasted side up, then top with the remaining Mornay sauce before sprinkling on the rest of the cheese. Broil in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
- While the sandwiches are broiling fry up a couple of eggs by melting some butter in a skillet. Crack in the eggs and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes until the whites are firm but the yolk is still runny (or firm if preferred).
- Take the sandwiches out of the oven and immediately top with the fried eggs. Serve hot garnished with some fresh herbs or microgreens. Enjoy!