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croque monsieurIngredients:

1 tablespoon salted or unsalted butter, plus 4 tablespoons
(2 ounces/55g) salted or unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk
Pinch of sea salt or kosher salt &  Pinch of cayenne  pepper
4 slices sourdough or country-style bread
4 slices prosciutto or thinly sliced dry-cured ham, or 2 thick slices boiled ham
2 thin slices Comté  or Gruyère cheese
3/4 cup (60g) grated  Comté  or Gruyère  cheese


1   Melt the  1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir  in the  flour.  Cook until the mixture starts to bubble. Continue to cook for 1 minute. Whisk in 1/4 cup (60ml)  of the milk,  stirring to discourage lumps, then whisk in the  remaining 1/2 cup (120ml) of milk.  Cook the  béchamel for about 1 minute more,  until it’s thick and creamy, like runny mayonnaise. Remove  from  heat and stir  in the  salt and red pepper; set aside to cool a bit and thicken.

2    Spread  the  béchamel evenly  over the  four slices of bread.  Lay a slice of ham  over two  of the  slices, top them with slices of cheese,  and then top with the  remaining ham  slices. Finish with the  two  remaining slices of bread,  béchamel side down (on the  inside),  and brush the  outsides of the  sandwiches without restraint with the  4 tablespoons (60ml)  of melted butter.

3   Turn  on the  broiler and heat a large ovenproof frying  pan or grill pan over medium-high heat on the  stove  top. (Make sure to use a pan with a heatproof handle, for broiling later.)  Place the sandwiches in the  frying  pan, drape  with a sheet  of aluminum foil, and then rest a cast-iron skillet  or other heavy pan or flat object  on top. Cook until the  bottoms of the  sandwiches are well browned. Remove  the  skillet  and foil, flip the  sandwiches over, replace the  foil and skillet,  and continue cooking until the other side is browned.

4    Remove  the  cast-iron skillet  and foil and strew the  grated cheese on top of the  sandwiches. Broil the  sandwiches until the  cheese melts  and serve.

variation: To make  a croque madame, while  the  sandwiches are broiling, cook a sunny-side up egg for each sandwich. Slide the eggs onto the  sandwiches  after  you plate  them up.