Baked croque monsieur
Holy macaroni, Batman, how did this not happen earlier? A baked croque monsieur is so simple, but yet it’s just ridiculously good. You have one, then you’re going to be seriously eying up another. OK, so I ate both of them. Shoot me.
At its base this is a really simple dish – it’s basically ham and cheese sandwiches dialled up to eleven – but the baking takes something good and ups the ante. Plus there’s a bucketload of cheese involved, and that always makes things better, right?
This new discovery is the result of wasting too much time online. Yup, I came across it when someone posted a picture with something along the lines of ‘you need this recipe in your life right now!’ and I blinked a couple of times before realising that yes, I did indeed. Now I present it to you, with a similar tagline – you need this in your life.
The genius in this dish is the effort required – it’s minimal and is done in advance. This makes it perfect for a lazy morning’s brunch or lunch. You can do the advanced work whilst dinner’s cooking on Saturday and reap the rewards on Sunday morning when all you have to do is pop it in the oven and then embrace deliciousness.
For some reason it always works better with bread that’s a little bit on the stale side, but if yours is still pretty fresh then just toast it lightly first and the end result will be just the same.
Having maximum flavour in your baked croque monsieur really comes down to two things: the mustard and the cheese you use. Be liberal with your mustard – it will add depth and additional layers to this dish. If you’re a fan of mild cheddar go ahead, but to get the best out of this recipe go for it with a really flavoursome mature cheddar or something similar – I used a vintage farmhouse cheddar in mine.
Also remember to cut the sandwiches into triangles; we all know it somehow tastes better that way. Because science.
This is one of my favourite recipes to make for a lazy weekend brunch – if you want to feed more than two, simply multiply up the ingredients and use a bigger baking dish.
- 4 slices seeded wholemeal bread
- 30g Dijon mustard
- 2 large eggs
- 2 slices of ham
- 30ml milk
- 100g grated mature cheddar
- 20g grated parmesan
Make the bread into sandwiches – spread the mustard over the four slices and then layer the sandwiches so there is bread – mustard – cheddar – ham – cheddar – mustard – bread. Cut the sandwiches into triangles. You should use about three-quarters of the cheddar.
Butter a deep, oven-proof dish. Arrange the sandwich triangles into the dish so there is very little room around them.
Beat together the eggs and milk with some salt and pepper and whisk together. Pour over the sandwiches, ensuring that there are no dry patches of bread.
Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
The next day take the dish from the fridge and let it start coming up to room temperature as you preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Sprinkle with the remaining cheddar and parmesan. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes.
Serve immediately, with a side salad if you’re feeling virtuous.