If you are looking for classic French food,
Forewarned, if you are following my Croque Monsieur Recipe, don’t try to hold back on the butter and the cheese.
Monsieur vs. Madame vs. Mademoiselle
Croque, which translates in English as “to bite”, is pronounced as “crok”. The “Monsieur” means “Mister”, referring to a lunchtime meal that the man of the house would have at work. It was first seen on a restaurant menu of a Parisian café in 1910, becoming popular very quickly afterward.
The Croque Madame became popular in the 1960s with the women’s movement. The Croque Madame recipe is the same, except the sandwich is topped off with a fried egg.
There is a rarer “light” version called Croque Mademoiselle, where the cheese and butter are substituted for cream cheese, and the ham is replaced with a slice of lighter meat such as chicken or turkey. I confess though I have never seen it on a restaurant menu!
And have I mentioned, that all these sandwiches are absolutely delicious? Today, it is still generally a lunchtime meal, paired with a simple salad to make all the cheese seem a bit healthier. You usually find them on the menu at traditional brasseries and cafés, rather than Michelin starred fine dining (but that doesn’t mean you have to turn your nose up at it!)
If you don’t have a French restaurant nearby, no fear, it is simple enough that you can make it at home.
☞ READ MORE: ABC of French Cuisine (the Food Dictionary)
There are other Croque Monsieur variations as well, as French chefs become more creative.
|Other Croque Sandwiches||Recipe Ingredients|
|Croque Provençal||With tomatoes added. (Region of Provence)|
|Croque Auvergnat||With the regional blue cheese Bleu d’Auvergne. (Region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)|
|Croque Normand||With potatoes and camambert cheese added. (Region Normandy)|
|Croque Bourguignon||With mustard from Dijon. (Dijon is the capital of the Region Bourgogne)|
|Croque Gallois||Add in beer, a touch of mustard, cayanne pepper and Worcestershire sauce. It is quite similar to the Welsh rarebit, and the name is sometimes used interchangeably. (Gallois is French for the home country of Wales).|
|Croque Norvégien||With smoked salmon. (For Norway).|
|Croque Tartiflette||With potatoes added|
|Croque Hawaïen||With a slice of pineapple added (For Hawaii.)|
|Croque Sucré||A dessert where all the ham, butter and cheese is replaced by a sliced banana and chocolate sauce or powder.|
Frequently asked questions
How do you eat a croque sandwich?
Now, although the Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame are sandwiches, they are both quite messy to eat. No fear though, you can do as the French do and eat it with a knife and fork.
I do not however recommend trying to transport these to take them in to the office.
What do you serve with it?
Since they are usually served at lunchtime as a lighter meal, they are usually served by themselves, or with a small salad.
Other heartier options would be with a vegetable soup like minestrone or french fries.
What drinks to serve with it?
You might think the Croque Monsieur is the perfect sandwich to pair with a beer, but alas in France, we tend to stick to wines during a meal.
A light rosé or chilled white goes quite well with a Croque Monsieur, such as a Rosé-de-loire or a Cabernet-de-Saumur from the Loire Valley.
☞ READ MORE: Easy Guide to the French Wines
- 2 bread slices
- 2 cheese slices (gruyère or emmental)
- Slice of ham (use sliced chicken or turkey if you don't eat pork)
- 3 table spoons of milk
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of pepper
- Pinch of paprika, chives or nutmeg (optional, for extra flavor)
Optional for Croque Madame
- 1-2 eggs
- Take 2 bread slices and liberally butter one side of each.
- Place the cheese slices on each piece of bread, on the buttered side.
- Add a piece of ham on top of the cheese.
- Close the sandwich.
- In a bowl, mix grated cheddar (or gruyère) with milk, salt, and pepper.
- Add paprika, chives, or nutmeg for extra flavor to the mixture.
- Apply the mixture to the top of the sandwich.
- (Optional For Croque Madame) Bat the eggs in a bowl and then top off the sandwich with the mixture.
- Bake in the pan for 10 minutes.
Croque Mademoiselle Recipe:
Follow the same Croque Monsieur Recipe as above, but substitute the cheese and butter for cream cheese and the ham for a slice of lighter meat such as chicken or turkey.
Serve warm with salad.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 833Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 198mgSodium: 2438mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 59g
Note: We are not certified nutritionists and these estimates are approximate. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. This website is written and produced for informational purposes only.
And it’s that simple. If you enjoyed that recipe, you may like to get the recipes for more classic French comfort food.
A bientôt and bon appétit!
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