A taste of France… from Home!
A French Twist
Known as a jaffle in Australia, a toastie in the UK, and a grilled sandwitch in the USA, this classic meal is also popular in France — but with a twist: bechamel sauce.
Although traditionally filled with ham and Gruyere cheese, many variations have appeared around France and include chicken, smoked salmon, tomato or potato. A popular variation called croque madame is made with the same fillings but is topped with a fried egg.
Prep Time: 5min
Cook Time: 25min
Total Time: 30min
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- ½ Tablespoon flour
- ⅓ cup milk
- a pinch of nutmeg
- 2 thick slices of bread
- a couple slices of quality ham
Ideally use French ham or Paris ham, which is wet-cured, unsmoked, but fully cooked
- a slice of Gruyere cheese
If you can’t fine Gruyere cheese, try Comte, Fontina Val d’Aosta, Jarlsberg or Swiss Emmental
Preheat a two-sided electric grill on medium-high to high for about 20 minutes, or preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius (or 300 fahrenheit) and preheat a cast-iron skillet on top of the stove for about 5 minutes.
Bechamel sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt ½ tablespoon butter.
Bechamel sauce: Add flour into the saucepan and whisk vigorously for 1 minute.
Bechamel sauce: Slowly whisk the milk into the saucepan until smooth. Bring to a boil, and cook until thick. Remove from heat, add nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bechamel sauce: Remove sauce from heat, add nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste.
TIP: MAKE AHEAD
The bechemel sauce can be made in advance. No need to reheat as we’ll cook it with the bread next.
Spread two slices of bread generously with bechemel sauce. Lay ham and cheese ontop of one; then cover with the second slice of bread.
In a small saucepan, melt remaining the 1 ½ tablespoons butter. Brush the sandwiches on both sides with butter, making sure that the edges are well covered.
If you’re using a two-sided grill, place cheese-side down, close the grill and cook until the bread is toasted dark and cheese is leaking out and bubbling.
If you’re using a skillet, place sandwich cheese-side down and cook on stove top until well browned, then turn and brown again. Transfer skillet to oven, and bake until heated through and cheese is bubbling.
Enjoy! If you want, top with a fired egg to turn into a croque madame.