I have missed you all SO much this past week!
And just blogging in general. Man, I knew I loved cooking and blogging, but I didn’t realize until last week how HUGE a part of my life it is.
I went through blog withdraws.
I had so much fun cooking my butt off on Sunday and getting all prepped for this week! It was, however, quite exhausting. I felt like I was prepping a Thanksgiving meal…finish one thing, clean up, start another. Crazy, but really fun!
So this sandwich….
Ohhhhhhhhh my gosh it’s so good I can’t even describe it.
Just kidding, I can. When am I ever short for words?
This classic French ham and cheese sandwich is assembled with lightly toasted white sandwich bread, a big dollop of Dijon mustard, gourmet ham, delicious gruyere cheese, and slathered with a luscious, cheesy bechamel sauce before baking and transforming into gooey, melt-y sandwich heaven.
I basically cried when I ate it.
Because, I mean…
Can you blame me?
Let’s just all move to France and live there forever. And eat this for every meal.
There is actually a little bit of history behind this sinfully delicious sandwich.
Have you ever seen the movie It’s Complicated? If not, stop what you are doing, go rent the movie, and watch it ASAP.
It is one of my all time favorites. So there is one part of the movie where Meryl Streep (love her) makes a fantastic looking sandwich for Steve Martin. You can’t really tell what it is, but it looked SO BOMB.
I searched and searched and searched for what it was, and – since discovering it was a Croque Monsieur – have been meaning to make it for years.
Thank you, It’s Complicated (and my obvious obsession with food) for leading to the creation of this beauty.
And it’s not even hard to make. It sounds so fancy with “Croque Monsieur” and “Bechamel” bein’ thrown around all over the place, but it’s really just a ham and cheese sandwich topped with a super simple cream sauce and baked.
I will tell you a secret behind this sandwich, though. You really have to use nice ingredients. If you used Walmart brand deli ham, super cheap sandwich bread, and a different type of cheese it just wouldn’t be the same. I promise. And I am usually not an ingredient snob (my pantry is filled with Walmart brand stuff). But with this, there are only a few really simple ingredients, so the quality really does matter.
In other news…remember how Boone was limping and I was worried we were going to have to take him to the vet again?
Well we did and his poor little toe is broken. Poor baby. Now he is on “strict rest” for over a month, which means no frisbee!
Gasp! He is so bored and hyper.
It was a super chill and easy experience at the vet, just like always (sarcasm), that ended in the vet techs having to administer three (yes…three) different types of sedatives in order for him to be docile enough to receive an x-ray. Yayyyyy!!!!
It’s okay. He’s totally worth it.
And my first week at my new job (the school year technically doesn’t start until the 19th) was crazy!
It was proooobably the most overwhelming week of my life, but I met with the teacher who taught this class for the last several years, and she made me feel a lot better. I am starting to feel like I have a slight, tiny, very VERY small grasp on things. Sometimes.
Life is crazy…
…But not as crazy as this sandwich. Which you MUST MAKE RIGHT NOW!
- 8 slices of white sandwich bread. Buy the fancy kind from bakery section of the grocery store. If you buy it from the bread aisle where all the other sandwich loaves are, it will turn out a little soggy. Any type of sliced Italian bread, sourdough bread, or any high quality kind from the bakery section will work.
- 8 oz gruyere cheese, grated
- 16 slices (a little less than a pound) of good quality ham (I had it sliced fresh at the deli counter)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups 2% milk
- 5 grates of fresh nutmeg
- 8 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Chopped parsley (optional garnish)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
- Place all 8 slices of bread on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, remove from the oven, flip the slices of bread over, and bake for another 3 (take the bread out if it is getting anywhere past a light golden brown)
- Meanwhile, make your bechamel sauce
- Melt your butter in a large saute pan and add your flour
- Whisk together and let cook for about 30 seconds, whisking constantly
- Add the milk and whisk until everything is smooth and combined
- Bring this mixture to a simmer, and let it cook until it has thickened slightly
- Remove from the heat and add ⅔ cups of the grated gruyere cheese and the fresh grated nutmeg
- Season to taste with salt and pepper
- Remove the bread from the oven and assemble the sandwiches
- Spread 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard onto each slice of bread
- Lay 2 slices of ham each on 4 of the pieces of bread
- Evenly distribute half of the remaining gruyere on top of the ham on each sandwich (the other half will be used later)
- Place the remaining 4 slices of bread on top of the gruyere and place the sandwiches back onto the parchment lined baking sheet
- Spoon ⅓ cup of the bechamel on top of each sandwich (if there is any left over, add extra to the tops of the sandwiches)
- Sprinkle the remaining gruyere cheese on top of the sandwiches and bake for 10 minutes
- Turn the oven onto broil and broil the sandwiches for another 3-5 minutes, or until tops of the sandwiches are golden brown and bubbly
- Top with chopped parsley for color (optional)
If you make this or any of my other recipes, be sure to Instagram it and hashtag #thegarlicdiaries!
In the mood for more sandwiches? Check these out: