Hello food loving friends. A (very) long time ago I said I would share a vegetarian croque madame recipe. This was inspired by fenvy (food envy) from watching Jackson devour a croque at Rustica Sourdough one Saturday morning. Soon after I publicly vowed to re-create a vegetarian version of the croque goodness he experienced.
Somewhere along the way I got a little lost as to where exactly a croque monsieur started and a croque madame finished. Upon researching I’ve learnt that when an egg is involved it is of the feminine sandwich variety (madame). Another technique I am sharing today is an amazing kitchen staple, a white bechamel sauce.
The sauce starts with a roux, a thickener for sauces and soups that combines equal parts flour and butter. Master the roux (featured below) and you can tackle any recipe that calls for a creamy base of bechamel. Pre-cooking flour and mixing it with melted butter allows the starch granules to swell and absorb moisture, and lets you thicken a sauce base without the flour clumping or forming lumps.
White sauce is traditionally paired with pasta (mac ‘n’ cheese anyone..), fish or vegetables. In this case it is mixed with some dijon mustard and cheese to hold together layers of pan fried mushrooms, cheese and a fried egg. This is magic in a sandwich.
So, white sauce… let’s get down to business. Technically you only need 3 ingredients to create a creamy white sauce and that is butter, flour and milk. You’ll achieve the desired consistency but lack flavour so it’s important to have some cheese, garlic, salt, nutmeg or mustard to flavour the sauce. For this croque madame I used a teaspoon of dijon mustard, pinch of Gruyère cheese and a decent pinch of salt.
Once you have your ingredients cooked and ready to go, it’s assembling time. Warning.. there’s a lot of butter and cheese involved.
I started with a thin layer of butter and then dijon mustard followed by a layer of my browned mushrooms. Then a sprinkling of cheese, under the grill. Back out, layer of bechamel sauce, more mushrooms, more cheese, back under the grill until we have bubbly cheese. On the other piece of the bread I layered bechamel and a fried egg on top and placed under the grill for just a minute to melt the cheese.
You want the cheese and sauce to be bubbling. You want a lovely layered big indulgent sandwich to enjoy and be the envy of all the other sandwiches. Combine the sandwich and slice if you wish. It doesn’t get much better than this.
For someone so obsessed with France, I was a bad blogger and couldn’t get my butt into gear to post this in time for Bastille day so consider this my tardy homage to my favourite country and a damn delicious sandwich.
Do you have any other ingredients you’d include to make this the mother of all sandwiches?
Have a wonderful day, Bec xxx
- 2 slices thick good quality bread, toasted
- 4 mushrooms
- tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup gruyere cheese (or colby, edam, mozzarella)
- 2 fried egg
- pinch of shallots to garnish
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- teaspoon dijon mustard
- pinch of cheese
- pinch of salt
- Toast your bread and set aside. Sauté your mushrooms and set aside.
- Start your roux by melting the butter in a small sauce pan over a medium heat. When the butter starts to bubble, add the flour and gently whisk until mixture becomes the consistency of cake frosting, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the teaspoon of dijon mustard to the roux, mixing well and then slowly start to mix in the milk, whisking with a whisk or fork to combine.
- Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 10 to 12 minutes or until sauce comes to a very gentle boil, thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
- Remove from the heat and add the salt and cheese, slowly stir in.
- Place the grill on and start to arrange your sandwich: Spread a thin layer of dijon mustard, then bechamel sauce, then mushrooms, top with cheese and place under the grill for 30 seconds until cheese melts. Repeat.
- Place the top piece of bread, a layer of bechamel, top with a fried egg, a sprinkle of cheese and some shallots. Enjoy!
- The order of the sandwich building can be totally up to you!