The French name Croque Monsieur translates to “Crisp Mister” and is basically a cooked cheese and ham sandwich, traditionally made with gruyere cheese and thinly sliced ham. The name is sometimes shortened to just Croque.
The first Croque Monsieur was simply a hot ham and cheese sandwich which was fried in butter – one step further than what some believe was the original which was accidentally created when French workers left the tins containing their lunches of sandwiches on hot radiators whilst they worked. By the time they came to eat them, the heat of the radiators had melted the cheese.
It’s not known who had the idea of embellishing the recipe by frying the sandwich until crisp and golden, however they first appeared on menus in Parisian cafés in 1910, and the earliest written reference is thought to have been by the novelist Proust in his 1918 work titled À la recherche du temps perdu (In search of lost time).
Over the years, further changes were made to the basic recipe, in particular the addition of mustard and a béchamel sauce. Whilst this complicated an otherwise simple recipe, versions made this way are sumptuous and relatively filling and well worth the extra attention.
Then came the variations including:
The addition of a fried egg served on top – a Croque Madame
The addition of tomatoes – a Croque Provençal
The substitution of blue cheese for Gruyere – a Croque Auvergnat
The substitution of smoked salmon for the ham – a Croque Norvégien
Simpel Croque Monsieur Recipes
A simple version would be to make a cheese and ham sandwich in the usual way, then fry in butter until crisp and golden on both sides. Alternatively, spread the outside on your sandwich with plenty of butter and cook under a very hot grill until well browned on both sides.
Text from recipes4us