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Make This Next Weekend: Croque Monsieur Bake

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This is the second recipe that I’ve made out of Nigella Express and I have to admit, for a book I probably wouldn’t have just gotten on my own, it’s track record is pretty good.

I changed recipe a bit using 2% milk instead of full-fat milk and also adding some leftover, sauteed spinach and tomato. The original recipe was just ham and cheese, which is good, but honestly, I really need some vegetables in my brunch meals. But, that just might be me.

I used sourdough instead of multi-grain bread and dill Harvarti instead of Gruyere cheese because that’s also how I roll. This will feed at least 4 people, maybe 6 if you add a fruit salad and other brunch items.

Croque Monsieur Bake
Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson
6 slices sourdough or multi-grain bread
1/3 cup Dijon Mustard
3 thick slices dill Harvarti cheese (or 6 thin slices) alternately, use Gruyere cheese slices
3 slices ham
6 eggs
1 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup 2% milk
4 tbsp grated Gruyere, Dill Havarti or Parmesan cheese
6 slices tomato
1/3 cup sauteed spinach
sprinkle of Worcestershire sauce

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Spread the mustard on the bread slices and proceed to put together 3 sandwiches with the cheese slices, ham, spinach and tomato. Cut each sandwich in half, diagonally, so that you have 6 halves.

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Squish the sandwiches into a baking dish that is approximately 10.5 X 8.25 inches and 2.25 inches deep. Next, beat together the eggs, salt and milk. I had about 2 tablespoons of cottage cheese in the fridge that I needed to use, so I threw that in here too. I also added the Worcestershire sauce to the egg mixture because I wasn’t really paying attention to the directions. Woo!

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Pour the egg mixture over the sandwiches halves and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in the fridge overnight. It’ll soak up a lot of the liquid. The next morning, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and sprinkle the grated cheese over the bread.

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Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden. I found that after 30 minutes, mine was mostly all done but still a little runny in the middle. I found that slicing and plating a piece and then popping it in the microwave for 1 minute, completely finished cooking any remaining egg and still kept the top all crunchy. Excellent!

7 comments to Make This Next Weekend: Croque Monsieur Bake

  • B.Loppe

    My mum’s been making a version of this my whole life. We don’t make the sandwiches, we just cover the bottom of the pan in bread, add the cheese, ham, (mushrooms), then cover with another layer of bread. I think mum uses more egg and liquid and bakes it for 45 mins to an hour. It’s more casserole-y and less sandwich-y, I think – we find it perfect for cottage weekends and christmas morning – it bakes while we open presents.

  • mlb

    b — I kind of followed the recipe (ok, some of it) for this first try, but I think I like your way of just laying the bread down on the bottom of the dish for this better. Thanks for sharing that!

    I also agree on the longer cooking time (and perhaps knocking the oven back to 375). We would have left ours in a bit longer, but the recipe said 25 minutes and we were hungry! :)

    But, I definitely want to make this again because it was really, really good!

  • I’m just going to use your blog for my menu planning! I made the beef wellington last week (ohmygod, it was so good, but why did I go to Zupan’s to buy the beef? I would have been SO SAD if it hadn’t turned out), and I think I will make this for our weekly family supper next week! Yum, and thanks!

  • mlb

    Mariko: Hee! I got my beef for the beef wellington at Zupan’s too…

    Hope you like the ham and cheese bake!

  • Julienne

    I laugh so much when you americans change recipes. Gruyere cheese has no subtitute. In the original, we use bechamel sauce to make cheese sauce, not egg mixture. Yours is only a well done deli-kind sandwich. NOT croque monsieur. Sorry.

  • mlb

    Greetings Julienne!

    I bow to your superior cheese sauce! My deli-kind trembles in the face of your non-american know-how! I will inform the Dill Havarti that it is in no way a substitute for Gruyere! I also thank you for outing Nigella Lawson as a fraud, charlatan, and traitor to her people. No doubt she pads her thighs with Kraft Singles!

    When you return from your mountaintop retreat, will you teach me your mysterious laugh?

    Yours,
    mlb

  • sb

    Oh, dear Julienne: Nigella is British, not American.

    Anyway, I’ve made the original, and it was quite delicious. I don’t know that I’d swing the way of dill Havarti or not, but the spinach and tomatoes are changes I can get behind – and I’d add some onion or leek to boot.

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