Croque Monsieur Recipe: it's Complicated
- Servings: 10-12
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 8 slices white bread, crusts removed
- 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 4 ounces Fontina cheese, grated
- 4 ounces (6 or more slices) thinly sliced smoked Black Forest ham
- 1 cup cream or milk
- 3 eggs
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Bamboo skewers
- Butter an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan and line with oiled parchment paper. Begin layering the croque monsieur by lining the bottom of the loaf pan with bread (use 2 slices for each layer). Dot the first layer with 1 generous tablespoon mascarpone cheese and spread as evenly as possible. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the chives over the cheese. Cover with 1/4 cup Fontina cheese and layer the ham over cheese. This is one complete layer. Build two more layers, ending with a row of bread.
- Whisk together the cream or milk and eggs in a bowl to make a custard. Strain the custard through a sieve and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the custard over the croque monsieur, cover with parchment paper, and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before baking. The croque can be placed overnight in the refrigerator at this point if desired.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the loaf pan in a deep casserole and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the loaf pan to create a bain-marie. Cover with a piece of buttered parchment paper. Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the custard has set. Test with a toothpick -- if it comes out clean, remove from the oven and the bain-marie and allow the croque monsieur to cool in the loaf pan.
- When cool, place in the refrigerator to chill. Turn the croque out of the pan and cut into generous 1/2-inch-thick slices. Cut each slice in half across the layers and skewer the two halves together.
- To Serve: Heat an 8-inch sauté pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil and gently place the croque monsieur skewers into the pan; sauté until golden brown on both sides. Serve with a green salad.