Croque Monsieur #CookforJulia #SundaySupper

by Anne Papina on August 4, 2012

Croque Monseiur | Webicurean

“The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken. Bon appétit.” -Julia Child

Leave it to the French to take a pedestrian grilled ham and cheese and elevate it to something, well, so decidedly decadent. I was nearly giddy with delight as I sampled my creation(s), or properly, Julia Child’s creation. While many variations are floating about, I picked this version from my 1977 edition of From Julia Child’s Kitchen. This dish is all about simplicity and fresh ingredients.

CookforJulia Logo

Of course, Julia had a way of making even the most complicated French dishes accessible to the home cook, yet she had an equal love for ordinary fare. She was quite literally a legend in her own time, and what better way to honor her memory than by preparing one of her favorite dishes, Croque Monsieur. August 15 would have been her 100th birthday, so her publisher, Knopf (#JC100), along with PBS (#CookforJulia) and food bloggers around the world (#SundaySupper) are celebrating. Why not join in the fun?

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” -Julia Child

According to the The Oxford Companion to Food, Croque Monsieur literally means “crunch-sir” or “munch-sir,” but its origins are not clear. This popular French snack first appeared on French menus in the early 20th century. Its sibling, the Croque Madame, is a more recent invention, with the addition of chicken, or a fried egg on top. While I tend to believe everything tastes better when topped with a fried egg, I’m a purest at heart. Well, almost. Traditionally, the sandwich should be made with Emmentaler or Gruyère, but Julia recommended fresh Mozzarella  because its “softer consistency blends more meltingly with the ham, the butter, and the bread.” I couldn’t have said it better myself!

“Life itself is the proper binge.” -Julia Child

This binge spanned a good four days as hubby and I sampled a variety of cheeses and hams. (These sandwiches are so rich, you really can’t eat more than one per day.) There was no clear winner–sandwich or waistline–but if I must choose, I’d pick the fresh Mozzarella with rosemary ham with only a slight edge over the Emmentaler with Black Forest ham. Both were sandwiched between slices of fresh “famous bake house white” from Safeway’s bakery, which was surprisingly irresistible on its own.

So grab a stick of butter, some bread, ham, and cheese, and let’s begin!

Clarified Butter

First, we must clarify the butter, which simply means melting butter then skimming off the milk solids. This gives the butter a higher smoke point and will prevent it from browning/burning when sautéing the sandwiches.


Next we need to line up our ingredients–bread with crusts trimmed, slices of cheese and ham. As you can see, I had a hard time getting “thin” slices of the Mozzarella. Oh well.

Croque Monsieur

Before assembling, brush the bread with clarified butter. Then layer the cheese, the ham, and the cheese. Yep, I said cheese twice.

Croque Monsieur

Then slowly sauté in clarified butter until golden melty goodness. I know, that makes no sense, but you get the picture.

Croque Monsieur

And enjoy with your favorite salad and a glass of wine! Or, cut into bite sized pieces and serve as an appetizer. Either way, it’s sure to be a hit.

Here’s the easy print version:

5.0 from 3 reviews
Croque Monsieur
Prep time
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"Here is the plain version, with its delicious primal taste of ham, cheese, and bread all browned leisurely in the best butter." -Julia Child
Recipe type: Sandwich
Cuisine: French
Serves: 1
  • 2 thin slices (1/4 inch thick) fresh white sandwich bread of best homemade-type quality, such as Pain de Mie
  • 2 to 3 tbsp clarified butter (butter melted, skimmed, the clear liquid poured off the milky residue--have a small saucepan of it for several sandwiches)
  • 2 thin slices (1/8 inch thick) Mozzarella cheese or rather soft Swiss
  • 1 thin slice (1/8 inch thick) cooked ham, the dimensions of the bread
  1. For each sandwich, lay a slice of bread on your work surface, brush it with clarified butter, cover with a slice of cheese, a slice of ham, another slice of cheese, then brush one side of the second slice of bread with butter, and lay it buttered side down on top of the sandwich.
  2. Now press the sandwich together firmly, leaning on it with the palm of your hand.
  3. Trim off crusts, and press down again on sandwich.
  4. Film a frying pan with ⅛ inch of the clarified butter, heat to bubbling, and brown the sandwiches rather slowly (2 to 3 minutes) on each side, so the cheese will melt; add more butter as needed.
  5. For appetizers, cut the sandwiches into quarters or eighths.
If done ahead, arrange on a baking sheet and set aside, covered with plastic wrap. Uncover and heat in a 375-degree oven 5 minutes or so before serving.


If you’d like to see Julia Child and Jacques Pepin making both Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame (as well as some other sandwiches), here’s the full PBS episode: Julia and Jacques making Croque Monsieur and Madame

Join in this week’s #SundaySupper festivities, starting with the recipes below and ending with a live chat beginning at 7:00 p.m. EDT, hashtag #SundaySupper on Twitter.

#CookForJulia Breakfast
Râpée Morvandelle by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Croissants by Cookistry
Cheese and Bacon Quiche by Tora’s Real Food

#CookForJulia Lunch
Tuna Salad Nicoise by Magnolia Days
Blood Orange, Walnut, and Rocket Salad by Granny’s Down Home Southern Cooking
Croque Monsieur by Webicurean
Spinach and Cream Cheese Pancakes by Happy Baking Days 
Julia’s Chicken Salad by My Trials in the Kitchen
Pissaladière Niçoise (Onion Tart with Anchovies and Black Olives) by The Wimpy Vegetarian
Provencal Tomato Quiche by Are you hungry?
Quiche Lorraine by Spoon and Saucer
Potato and Onion Soup (Potage Parmentier) by Shockingly Delicious

#CookForJulia Dinner
Bouillabaisse by The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
Boeuf Bourguignon by Chelsea’s Culinary Indulgence
Orecchiette Con Broccoli Di Rape and Sausages by Doggie at the Dinner Table
Boeuf Bourguignon by Hezzi D’s Books and Cooks
Veal Stew with Onions and Mushrooms with Baked Cucumbers and Boiled Potatoes (Blanquette de veau a l’ancienne with concombres au buerre) by Kimchi Mom
Salmon en Papillote by Girlichef
Poached salmon with cucumber sauce by Katherine Martinelli
Lobster Souffle and Deviled Chicken by Crispy Bits & Burnt Ends
Roasted Chicken with Julia’s Mustard Marinade by The Meltaways
Wild Mushroom and Herb Stuffed Chicken by Mama Mommy Mom
Puree of White Beans with Garlic and Herbs (Brandade á la Soissonaise) Avocado Pesto
Poulet au Porto by Family Foodie

#CookForJulia Sides
Hollondaise over Blanched Asparagus by The Little Ferraro Kitchen
Scalloped Potatoes with Milk, Cheese, and Garlic (Gratin Dauphinois) by Home Cooking Memories
Ratatouille by Basic N Delicious
French-style country pate by There and Back Again
White Bean Dip with Homemade Tortilla Chips Momma’s Meals
Oeufs à la Diable by What Smells So Good?
Soubise by The Weekend Gourmet
Ratatouille by Cupcakes and Kale Chips

#CookForJulia Desserts
Cream Cheese and Lemon Flan by Juanita’s Cocina
Strawberry Sherbert in Cooky Cups by Cravings of a Lunatic
Creme Brulee by Wine Everyday
Mousseline Au Chocolat by Small Wallet Big Appetite
Peach Tarte Tatin by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Cinnamon Toast Flan by Vintage Kitchen Notes
Dark Chocolate Crepes by Family Spice
Crepes Fines Sucrees by Mangoes and Chutney
Pommes Rosemarie:Apples Rosie by The Daily Dish Recipes
Espresso Soufflé by Chocolate Moosey
Best Ever Brownies by In the Kitchen with Audrey
Orange-Almond Jelly Roll Cake by Mrs. Mama Hen
Orange Spongecake Cupcakes by Mama’s Blissful Bites
Orange Mousse with Greek Yogurt by Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
Frozen Chocolate Mousse by Big Bear’s Wife

Wine Pairings: Relishing Food and Wine; Thanks to Julia Child! by ENOFYLZ

Note: I earn a modest referral/commission for links within the article.

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