Croque Madame

Croque Madame with Fried Egg
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Cheese, cheese, ham, more cheese and creamy béchamel, held together between two thick, hard-working slices of bread and finished with a runny fried egg? Only the French could dream up a sandwich like the croque-madame.

A Sandwich By Any Other Name...

Shakespeare may disagree, but we think names matter! Take this recipe, for instance. If we told you about a recipe for a ham, cheese, and egg sandwich your interest level would likely fall somewhere between ambivalence and mild curiosity. But there’s something a little enticing about the name ‘croque-madame’ sandwich. You feel like you want to know what it is, and maybe you’d even like to try making one, right?

Croque Madame with Fried Egg

What Is A Croque-Madame? 

A croque-madame is a French bistro classic that begins with sliced ham and shredded Gruyère cheese layered onto thick slices of white bread. Fresh thyme and stone-ground mustard flavor a simple, creamy homemade béchamel sauce, that is poured over the toasted ham-and-cheese sandwich. 

And then—because the French really know how to make a sandwich—the whole rich, gorgeous, béchamel-drenched thing is topped with even more shredded Gruyére. Pop it in the oven until it starts to bubble and your house smells like heaven. 

Last but not least, to make it a truly classic croque-madame sandwich recipe, we top it with a fried Fred Meyer Cage Free Egg and some peppery microgreens. The result is rich, melty, and ooey-gooey sandwich perfection.

What’s the Difference Between a Croque-Monsieur and a Croque-Madame?

In French, croque-monsieur means “mister crunch.” The sandwich likely dates back to the beginning of the 20th century and (supposedly) to a bistro owner who got clever when he ran out of baguettes. After some quick thinking (and ham bought from the village butcher), he used a loaf of pain de mie (similar to thick-sliced sandwich bread) and toasted it until it had the crunch of a baguette. The sandwich was a hit, and the croque monsieur has since become a staple in French cuisine. The sandwich becomes a croque-madame (“madam crunch””) when a fried egg is put on top of the finished sandwich.

Classic Croque-Madame Ingredients:

  • Thickly-sliced white bread.
  • A smooth béchamel sauce.
  • High-quality sliced ham. 
  • Grated Gruyère cheese.
  • A perfectly fried egg. 

The Elements, Perfected.

What could be just a simple ham and cheese sandwich becomes so much more when each element of the croque-madame’s ingredients are done right. 

  • The croque-madame filling: good quality, freshly sliced ham and a real Gruyère with a nutty and assertive bite that you shred yourself right before melting
  • Thick slices of whitebread: thickly sliced and fluffy white bread, like Texas toast. It’s ideal for soaking up the croque-madame’s béchamel sauce. 
  • Béchamel making your own croque madame sauce is crucial. Whole-grain mustard, fresh thyme, and grated nutmeg give the creamy béchamel sauce a certain je ne sais quois.
  • A runny, fried egg: the fried egg is what differentiates a croque-madame from a croque-monsieur, and it’s why we love them so very much. Supposedly, the croque-madame is called that because the shape of a fried egg resembles that of a ladies’ wide-brimmed hat.. We use fresh Kroger Co. Family of Stores Cage Free Eggs and fry them in melted butter one at a time in a nonstick skillet. 

Tools You’ll Need: 

More Meal-Worthy Sandwiches To Love:

Need more swoon-worthy sandwich recipes in your life? We’ve got you covered. 

  • Everyone’s favorite sammy gets a grown-up makeover in this green goddess grilled cheese sandwich loaded with avocado, sprouts, spinach, asparagus spears, and a flavor-packed green goddess spread. 
  • Crusty bread, melty cheese, and thinly sliced steak find their bliss when dunked into a homemade au jus, making this French dip sandwich a meal you won’t soon forget. 
  • Crisp ciabatta, homemade pesto, and a perfectly runny fried egg takes the beloved BLT to new heights of greatness in our heirloom BLT with pesto.
Croque Madame with Fried Egg

Croque-Madame: The Best Sandwich Ever? 

This croque-madame had us at Gruyère. And then again at béchamel. And then it really got us with the runny fried egg on top. Can you relate? Did you make this croque-madame recipe and love it as much as we do and have the pictures to prove it? If so, post those babies to Instagram and tag us using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

This sponsored post is written by TMP on behalf of Fred Meyer Stores. The opinions and text are all ours. Thank you for supporting the brands we love.

Croque Madame

Serves 4

Béchamel Sauce

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

Ingredients

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

Method

  1. To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a sauté pan set over medium heat until foamy. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the butter and cook, stirring constantly for about 1 minute. 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 just 1 side of the 8 bread slices with 1 tablespoon of butter each. Place four of the bread slices butter side down on a baking sheet. Place 3 folded slices of ham on each slice of bread and cover each sandwich with 1/4 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 olive oil or butter (if using) 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 yet firm. Place 1 egg on each sandwich. Top with chives, microgreens and freshly cracked black pepper.