Croque-monsieur: It’s the crunch, mister

As long as we’re on the subject of sandwiches, let’s talk ham & cheese. A croque-monsieur is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich enjoyed in many a French café. Croque comes from the French verb “to crunch” and rymes with “lunch”. When I was ready for lunch today I was ready to cruch a croque with gusto. There is everything to love about grilled ham and cheese and even more to love when you add a few flourishes, American style. Today I added some tomatoes from the last gasp of my garden. They’ve been hanging in my kitchen while I will them from green to red. I snipped a few basil leaves from the plant on my sunporch that I swear I’m going to harvest into pesto just as soon as I have the time and I remember to buy pine nuts.

This satisfying sandwich would probably be even better with an artisinal bread, like a good sourdough or French loaf, but all I had was regular whole wheat sandwich bread which still tasted great. The croque-monsieur is typically made with Gruyere cheese but you can use almost any other cheese; cheddar, Swiss, Havarti, or Munster will also work.

 Croque-monsieur a la Therese

Sliced bread

½ cup grated cheese

½ cup finely chopped ham

1 small tomato sliced

basil leaves chopped

butter

Heat a griddle or pan to medium low heat. Assemble the sandwich in layers-bread, cheese basil, tomato, ham, basil, cheese, bread. Put a pat of Butter in the pan just big enough to cover the size of the bread. Grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until the bread is the desired color.

You may want to put a small lid on the top piece of bread while it is grilling to help the layers forge.

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