Croque Madame Panini

Source: Courtesy of Emmi-Roth Kase USA
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Main Ingredient: Cheese, Dairy
Menu Part: Sandwich/Wrap
Cuisine Type: French
Serves: 4

This is not your mother's croque madame. The comforting classic has been updated for today's taste buds with hearty, peasant-style bread, artisanal Grand Cru Gruyere cheese and a panini press. With an egg on top, it can double as a breakfast sandwich.

Ingredients

Mornay Sauce:
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups hot milk
Dash ground nutmeg
Dash ground cloves
Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
1 bay leaf
4 oz. Grand Cru Gruyere, shredded

Sandwich:
8 thick slices rustic bread
8 oz. baked ham, thinly sliced
4 oz. Grand Cru Gruyere, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
4 eggs
1 cup Mornay sauce, warmed

Steps

  1. Prepare Mornay Sauce:  Melt butter in heavy saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 2 min., stirring constantly (do not allow mixture to brown). Remove from heat.
  2. Add hot milk and whisk vigorously until smooth. Whisk in nutmeg, cloves, salt and pepper. Add bay leaf and return saucepan to stove. Simmer 10 min.
  3. Remove bay leaf. Stir in Gruyere. Whisk until cheese is fully melted.
  4. Prepare Sandwich: Layer ham on four slices of bread. Top with Gruyere slices and remaining bread slices.  Spread butter on outside of each sandwich. Grill on Panini press or griddle until bread is lightly browned and cheese fully melted.
  5. While sandwiches cook, heat remaining butter in a skillet and fry eggs until “over medium.”
  6. Top each sandwich with one fried egg and 1/3 cup Mornay Sauce. Broil for 2 to 3 min. to brown lightly.
  7. Serve immediately.