A pretty take on a classic bite

I was prattling on about my love of Nancy Meyers films until my husband and his brother interrupted that they had never seen her movies. They had a vague memory of her movie posters, the stylish yet accessible while keeping it together/falling apart heroines, and those chirpy, bright soundtracks. I could understand them missing The Holiday or Something’s Gotta Give, but It’s Complicated? Come on. It has Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin in it, two of my husband and brother-in-law’s favorite actors.

I put it on immediately.

My husband really tried, you could see him sort of laughing at jokes when I did, trying to seem engaged. His brother-in-law was politely watching too, but I swear I caught him texting at least once. But I guess it didn’t matter because I love this movie. L-O-V-E it. And even though watching it with would-be critics shines some of the cracks, like the ridiculous plot that Meryl Streep’s character can’t wait for a “real kitchen,” when her current kitchen is completely enviable and perfect. Or that one woman owns that many shawls.

One thing we could all agree on, though, was the food, and this is a food movie. The food stylist, Susan Spungen, worked closely with Meyers to develop recipes Streep’s character would make and enjoy. The food informs Streep’s journey, revealing her character’s experience as a pastry chef in France, her California roots, and that pain au chocolat is her way of flirting.

In one scene, her character whips up Croque Monsieur with a little romaine salad for Steve Martin. I’m not sure who really whips this up, except for the kind of people who have bechamel on hand, but regardless, it is a classic french fork-and-knife sandwich. Bubbly, gooey, and crunchy, it pairs perfectly with a French Vinaigrette over romaine. So if you’re looking for a simple breakfast, lunch, or dinner a deux, this croque monsieur is an easy choice. Enjoy!

Savory sandwich recipe via Claire Thomas

Ingredients:

For the croque monsieur:

  • 1 pint milk
  • 2 sprigs of parsley
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1/2 small onion, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flake
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup grated parm
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
  • 16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  • Dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin

For the French romaine salad:

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 romaine head
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

A classic sandwich recipe via Claire Thomas of The Kitchy Kitchen

Instructions:

For the croque monsieur:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Bring the milk and everything else except for the butter, flour, and parmigiano to a simmer.

3. In a separate sauce pan, melt the butter and add the flour. Stir until doughy and smelling a bit nutty (about one minute).

4. Strain in the milk about a half-cup at a time, whisking to incorporate with the butter and flour mix. It should be smooth and velvety, not chunky or too thick. If it is, just add some more milk to thin it out.

5. Add the 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.

6. To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.

7. Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread.

8. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes.

9. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.

Savory sandwich recipe courtesy of The Kitchy Kitchen

For the French romaine salad:

1. Chop up the head of romaine lettuce into bite-sized pieces.

2. To make the dressing, mix the red wine vinegar, grapeseed oil, Dijon mustard, parsley, salt and pepper together in a jar. Be sure to secure the lid on your jar before shaking!

3. Pour on top of your chopped romaine lettuce and enjoy!

It’s difficult to top a sandwich and salad combination this delicious!

Will you be trying your hand at this croque monsieur recipe?

Let me know if you do in the comments!

X Claire
The Kitchy Kitchen

Photos: The Kitchy Kitchen
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  • cDs

    I had the best croque monsieur on new year’s day- this mis making me want another!
    x0x0 Caroline http://thecarolove.com/

  • OH MY GOODNESS, this looks so yummy!

    Rachael xx.
    theteacozykitchen.blogspot.co.uk

  • jess larson

    it’s complicated is one of my FAVORITE movies of all time. meryl’s kitchen (not to mention her beautiful store-front & making croissants aux chocolats) is seriously what i dream about. love this recipe – so elegant & i can’t wait to give it a try!

    http://www.playswellwithbutter.com

  • Kari Guastella

    Croque Monsieur is my favorite thing to order when in Paris!
    Kari
    http://sweetteasweetie.com/

  • Leah Kauffman

    YUMMY!

  • Samantha Lee

    Oooh there’s a little Parisian cafe in downtown LA that makes this and it is SO GOOD. Looks like I’ll have to try my hand making it at home now. 😉
    http://www.wonderlandsam.com

  • Hahaha aww it’s cute how your husband and brother-in-law were trying to enjoy the movie! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing this great recipe! Can’t wait to try it on the weekend!

    XO, Elizabeth
    http://clothestoyouuu.com/