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Croque Monsieur

A classic sandwich gets the gourmet brunch treatment with a panko crust and wine-infused mustard in this recipe from chef Alain Allegretti.

  • servings: 4

Ingredients

For the Sandwich

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 (1-pound) loaf white Pullman bread
  • 1/4 pound Virginia ham, sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 1/4 pound Gruyere cheese, sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup panko

For the Violet Mustard

  • 1/4 cup Pinot Noir
  • 1/2 cup port wine
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; add flour and cook, whisking, until flour is absorbed, 3 to 4 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let bechamel cool.

  2. Step 2

    Make the sandwiches: Trim crust from bread and slice lengthwise into four 1/8-inch-thick slices. Save remaining bread for another use. Working with one slice of bread at a time, spread a thin layer of bechamel sauce over one side of bread, followed by a layer of ham, a layer of cheese, and another layer of bechamel. Starting at one of the short ends, roll into a cylinder and wrap with plastic wrap. Repeat process with remaining bread slices, bechamel, ham, and cheese. Transfer sandwiches to freezer overnight.

  3. Step 3

    Make the mustard: Place wine, port, and grapes in a small saucepan over medium heat; let cook until saucepan is dry, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the jar of a blender along with creme fraiche and mustard; blend until smooth. Set aside.

  4. Step 4

    Remove sandwiches from freezer and let stand 10 to 15 minutes to defrost slightly. Heat enough canola oil to come up one-third of the side of a large high sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it reaches 325 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer.

  5. Step 5

    Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Carefully crack eggs into skillet and cook until whites are set, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove eggs from skillet and keep warm.

  6. Step 6

    Place panko in a shallow dish. Unwrap sandwiches and coat with panko. Carefully add sandwiches to hot canola oil and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

  7. Step 7

    Drizzle mustard in a zigzag fashion on each of 4 serving plates. Cut each sandwich on the bias and place on prepared plates. Top each with a sandwich and a fried egg; serve immediately.

Reviews (3)

  • 3 Jan, 2013

    Outstanding method,flavor and presentation of a classic !
    I made eight of these tasty little sandwiches for my New Years Day Brunch prepped the night before up to the frying step. I finished them 30 minutes before service and kept them warm in a 200 degree oven until my guests came to the table.Slicing a pullman loaf has it's challenges,but a good knife and a little skill made this dish extra special.Don't forget to serve it with the Violet Mustard as it really adds a lovely touch to the dish!

  • 19 Oct, 2011

    This was an amazing sandwich! It's too great to even be called a sandwich. On the time consuming side, but could be broken down and made ahead. The bread was the hardest part for me. Slicing it rolling it up. My bread didn't have the right texture and it split some as I was rolling it, but the panko helped cover up the imperfections and it fried beautifully. Made a very nice presentation. Everyone loved it! This would be a great appetizer for a party if you leave off the egg.

  • 14 Oct, 2011

    Would you please include pictures when posting the recipes for printing? It does help to see what they will or should look like. Thank you!