Butter. Bread. Cheese. More butter.
I've been craving grilled cheese sandwiches for days. Probably since I came across the Cookoff of such sandwiches. Yep. The Grilled Cheese Invitational is held in Los Angeles and WHAT would be more fun than to enjoy every buttery bite of a such an intense competition?? I can't think of anything, but I'm sure it would involve food. Bacon maybe.
Anyway, I wanted to build upon the basics of the average grilled cheese and make it a WOWZA supper, so a little kitchen magic turned my plain old grilled cheese into a Croque Monsieur. What the heck is that you ask?!?
Well, traditionally Croque Monsieur is just french for hot ham and cheese. Something you'd probably find in a little bistro or cafe. Croque Madame is the same sandwich, but with a fried or poached egg on top. No matter what way you like it or the variation you choose, it's an out of this world experience and I urge you to try it soon. Why am I calling mine provençal you ask? Well, simple, I added a thick slice of tomato. (Homegrown summer tomatoes would taste SO much better, but I did what I could with what I had.)
I picked up this beautiful fresh French loaf at the market.
You can use what you have. I got this baby for a steal, otherwise I probably would've chosen a hearty bread like Ciabatta or a Focaccia. Eh. It works. If you want to impress someone though, just pop into your bakery and pick up something special. Heck, just getcha some from Panera. (our secret.)
One thing to remember when making these is to make sure your pan isn't too hot. That, and Thick slices of bread are key to making this an amazing sandwich experience. Well, that and lots of butter.
Anywho...back to sandwiching.
I choose to make a cheesy spread for each slice of bread, then assemble the sandwich with the slices of cheese of your choice.
For the Sandwich you'll need:
Bread (as discussed above)
Spread (directions below)
ham and/or bacon
sliced cheese in your favorite flavors
For the spread:
4 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 Tablespoons mayo (REAL mayo, not Miracle Whip)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together.
Smear it all over those bread slices. Just a thin layer will do. This batch will yield 4 sandwiches perfectly.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Place 2 slices of bread, plain side down in pan. This will allow the cheesy spread to get all creamy and melty on top. (SOOO good)
Yes, I realize there is another pat of butter in my pan on the verge of melted happiness. Don't judge.
Then layer with ham, bacon, tomato, sliced cheese....I had swiss, Meunster, Cheddar and Provolone on hand...everyone chose their favorite.
Brown perfectly until golden on each side and heated through. Adding butter 1 tablespoon at a time as needed.
Enjoy your Croque Monsieur Provençal!!! Happy Eating!