August 19, 2016

Croque Madame

Croque Madame

Today we are talking breakfast for dinner. While the idea of brinner might not sound very sophisticated, it's hard to deny the crowd pleasing nature of eggs, baked goods and salty meats. I've done some informal polling and if you ask most people what their favorite meal is they're likely to say a great breakfast. Even so, I know once Monday hits it can be difficult to indulge in a proper sit down breakfast amidst the hustle and bustle, so why not mix things up and bring those tried and true flavors to the dinner table?


...topped with more cheese of course, until your house smells like heaven and you can see the bubbling cheese dripping off the sides of that glorious creation...

Some of you may have grown up with a weekly breakfast for dinner night, but it wasn't a thing in the MacGregor house. My mom impressively made some beautiful dishes, but she tended to make the same things on repeat. And who can blame her? With four adolescent girls and allllll that goes along with them, I'm not surprised she wasn't constantly churning out new recipe ideas. Just feeding us and keeping us alive (and not in tears for any amount of time) was a feat unto itself. But, now that I'm a mom breakfast for dinner is something I've embraced. The kids are always excited, as are Mort and I, and I love that it doesn't require much planning. I usually have what it takes on hand to make a great breakfast any time of day, so if I'm not feeling a roast or chicken, breakfast it is!

The Modern Proper has teamed up with Fred Meyer stores to spread the (not so secret, not so new) genius concept of having breakfast for dinner. Whether this is a totally foreign concept for you or you've been flipping pancakes past 5pm for ages, these Croque Madame sandwiches will be a crowd pleasing addition to your supper usuals.

Never heard of a Croque Madame? It's pretty straightforward stuff, just a Croque Monsieur with a fried egg on top. Never heard of a Croque Monsieur? Well then, I'm happy to introduce you. Here’s how we here at TMP carefully construct one of our very favorite breakfast for dinner meals: Black Forest ham and melted French cheese are layered thick on fresh bread, then a generous amount of thyme and stone ground mustard infused bechamel (with just a pinch of nutmeg of course) is poured on one side of the bread, next it's baked , topped with more cheese of course, until your house smells like heaven and you can see the bubbling cheese dripping off the sides of that glorious creation, and finally, we top that baby with a fried Kroger Co. Family of Stores Cage Free Egg and some peppery microgreens and dinner is served.

Now that I'm drooling over here I hope I've succeeded in convincing you to crack an egg or two and think outside of your protein and two sides dinner box. These Croque Madame are simple and quick to make (isn't a quick dinner the best?!) and it's rich flavors will leave you *almost as happy as if it was Sunday brunch itself.

Croque Madame

Serves 4

Béchamel

4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
1 3/4 cup whole milk, room temp
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp whole grain dijon mustard
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Ingredients

8 slices thick white bread (like Texas Toast)
4 tbsp butter, softened
12 slices deli ham
2 1/3 cup Gruyère cheese, grated (about 5 oz.)
2 tbsp butter or olive oil
4 Fred Meyer Cage Free eggs
2 tsp fresh chives, optional
2 cups micro greens, optional
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Melt butter in a medium pan set over medium heat until foamy. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the butter and cook, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. The mixture will clump together and bubble. Gradually add the milk, whisking until mixture is smooth. Add the thyme to the pan, and continue whisking until the sauce thickens, about 4 minutes. Whisk in mustard, nutmeg and salt. Remove from heat, Set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 375° F.
  3. Butter 1 side of each bread slice with ½ tablespoon of butter. Place four bread slices butter side down on a baking sheet. Place 3 folded slices of ham on each slice of bread and cover with ⅓ cup grated cheese. Top with the remaining slices of bread butter side up.
  4. Toast sandwiches in the oven for 6 minutes until slightly golden and cheese is melted.
  5. Remove baking sheet from oven and pour the béchamel sauce evenly over all four sandwiches. Top each sandwich with ¼ cup grated cheese each. Place under broiler until cheese is bubble and beginning to brown. About 3-4 minutes.
  6. In a small medium saucepan, set over medium-heat the butter until hot and bubbly. Break eggs into pan 1 at a time. Turn heat to medium-low. Slowly cook the eggs, until the whites are completely set and yolks begin to thicken but are not hard. Place 1 egg on each sandwich. Top with chives, microgreens and freshly cracked black pepper.  

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