Earlier on in my blog, and shortly after Henry and I had returned from Paris, I did a post giving my recipe for Croque Madame - this is a version of that, without the egg, and made using croissants. It is unbelievably good - and not for the faint of heart (or high of blood pressure or cholesterol...) It is super-indulgent, and one croissant is plenty for breakfast or lunch, or even dinner with a simple green salad. Save for special occasions, and serve with dijon mustard.
8 slices good quality ham
2/3 cup grated gruyere cheese
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
You can make the Béchamel Sauce either on the stove top, or in the microwave. The method is very similar. On the stove top, heat the butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat until just melted. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Add the milk in three lots, stirring continuously, until well incorporated. Keep stirring while cooking over the heat until the sauce is thickened and smooth. If it misbehaves, just whisk it with a wire whisk until smooth - it should finish thick and silky. Add the Parmesan, nutmeg and dijon and stir to combine. Yum. Leave to cool. (Left over Béchamel Sauce can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days). Preheat oven to 200˚C (400˚F) and get out an oven tray.
Slice the croissants in half and spread each bottom half with 2 tablespoons of Béchamel Sauce and 2 pieces of ham. Top with croissant 'lid', and spread with 1-2 more tablespoons of Béchamel Sauce on each. Sprinkle with gruyere cheese and pop in the oven until golden and bubbling, about 15 minutes. Great with strong hot coffee in the morning, or a glass of red and salad for lunch and dinner - the ultimate comfort food!