Thursday, February 2, 2012

Croque Monsieur

If you’ve been to France, you’ve heard of a croque monsieur. The croque monsieur is to France as the hot dog is to New York. While studying abroad there, I ate one almost every week! A croque monsieur is a warm sandwich that resembles an American grilled cheese, but instead of just ham and cheese, it consists of ham and a melted cheese mixture. The cheese mixture changes from recipe to recipe, but often it is a cheesy béchamel sauce or a mixture of shredded gruyere, crème fraiche, and egg. It is creamier than just a slice of cheese and the flavor is richer. Often, there is gruyere sprinkled and melted on top too. I love my American grilled cheese, but I have to say that these are pretty great too! I tried a croque monsieur from a few places in France, each unique in its own way. Some had cheese on top, others had basil in the cheese mixture, and still others had chicken instead of ham. But there was one twist on the traditional croque monsieur that was by far the best.

It was a croque croissant, actually. So instead of resting between two slices of bread, the salty ham and creamy cheese filled a sweet, buttery croissant. The ham was thickly sliced, like the ham you have on Thanksgiving, not the cold cut kind, so you got enough in every bite. And the cheese...oh, the cheese! It was a thick, creamy béchamel sauce that was mixed with a white cheese that was not potent, but gave the sauce flavor. It spilled out of the sides, warm and gooey. The croissant provided contrasting textures, as it was chewy on the inside and flaky on the outside, with a layer of crisp baked cheese on top. The croque croissant was truly a guilty pleasure because between the heavy cream, the cheese, and the butter croissant, it must have been very caloric, high in fat, and high in cholesterol. Nevertheless, it was definitely worth it! I got this croque croissant from a boulangerie (bread bakery) called L’Heure au Pain on a street called Rue de Marseille in Lyon, France. Unfortunately, by the end of my stay, the boulangerie stopped making the croque croissants. I don’t know why, but every time I would walk by the window on my way home from class, I wouldn’t see any in the case. I was surely disappointed, but I’m glad that I had my fair share in the beginning. Back in the States, I will now have to try to make my own, combining recipes that I learned from my host mom and from cooking classes I took in Lyon. When I get it right, I’ll definitely post it!

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...