Make It: Croque Monsieur

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Croque monsieur is the quintessential bistro dish, says Jason Azevedo, the chef at Stonehouse Bistro in Rancho Murieta and owner of Testa Duro Salumi Co. His recipe for an open-faced croque monsieur calls for bacon marmalade, available through the Testa Duro Salumi group page on Facebook. If you wish, you can substitute caramelized onion flavored with chopped bacon and thyme.

1/4 cup canola oil
6 ounces all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 quart whole milk
1 cup chicken stock
1 pound Gruyère or Comté cheese, grated
4 slices white bread
1/2 pound ham, sliced thin
1 jar Testa Duro Salumi bacon marmalade

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir the oil and flour together for about 5 minutes to make a light-colored roux. Add salt, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Slowly add the milk and stock to the roux 1/4 cup at a time, whisking constantly. Once all the liquid is incorporated, turn the heat up to medium high and bring the sauce to a boil, then turn it back down to a simmer and add half the grated cheese. Thickly spread some of the sauce on one side of each piece of bread. Top each bread slice with some ham, then spread with bacon marmalade. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top and place in a broiler on high for 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is hot and bubbling. Serve immediately. Serves 4.