I am so glad that this week is finally drawing to a close… as it was the dreaded mid-exam period. With all the finishing touches that had to be added to assignments, I barely had time to relax and put my feet up! That’s why I am so glad this week is coming to an end as it signifies the end of assessment… which is always a cause for celebration!
Every so often I get a craving for anything containing gooey, melted cheese. It’s definitely not the healthiest of cravings, but sometimes cheesy comfort food can be justified. For me, an all-time favourite celebratory food is a decadent Croque Monsieur.
This Croque Monsieur is a modern reinvention of the Parisian classic… it is super indulgent and definitely not for the faint hearted. Smoked prosciutto is wrapped around crispy slices of sourdough bread which is filled with an oozing mixture of gruyere, sage, dijon, crème fraiche and a caramelized french onion relish. The sandwich is then fried in butter to develop that all important crunch. The butter further imbues the sourdough and prosciutto with a rich nutty taste.
If you’re going to cook a Croque Monsieur, you may as well cook it right… don’t skimp on full fat and good quality ingredients! Make sure you use a good quality cheese. For me, gruyere is the best out of all european cheeses… the splurge on a block is always warranted, especially if it’s for a celebratory occasion. Its strong and rich taste really makes all the difference and is perfect to balance out the sweetness of the french onion relish and saltiness of the prosciutto.
Eat your Croque Monsieur hot of the pan, to best appreciate its oozing, molten and rich centre. This Croque Monsieur is definitely the king of all sandwiches, perfect for any day of the week or special celebration!
- 125g of gruyere cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
- 120g of creme fraiche
- sea salt and cracked black pepper
- 8 slices of sourdough bread
- 12 sage leaves
- 12 slices of prosciutto
- butter for frying and to lightly coat the bread
- kitchen string
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- 10 large french shallots
- 1 teaspoon of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of white wine
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon of thick balsamic vinegar glaze (i used truffled infused balsamic vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon of salt (i used truffled infused salt)
- Add half the oil to a pan over low heat, once hot, add the onions and sweat until they loosen.
- Add garlic and white wine. Let reduce until onions have absorbed most of the liquid.
- Add the brown sugar and stir to coat the onions, once the onions and sugar have absorbed all the remaining liquid. Add remaining oil and balsamic vinegar glaze. Add salt and stir.
- Let onions simmer in mixture over low heat for ten minutes or until sticky and caramelized. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Mix the gruyere, dijon, creme fraiche in a bowl. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- Lightly butter the slices of sourdough bread, then spread one slice of the bread with the mixture and top with onion relish. Sandwich with another slice of bread.
- Cut each sandwich into 3 pieces (or instead of creating sandwich fingers, the sandwich can be left whole).
- Place a sage leaf ontop each finger and then wrap a slice of prosciutto around each sandwich finger. Then with kitchen string secure the prosciutto and sage leaf in place (This can be kept on for presentation or removed later).
- Heat a non-stick pan with butter over medium to high heat. Once the butter begins to bubble cook the sandwiches on each side for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden, crispy and the cheese has melted.
- Serve hot!