Croque-Monsieur : What is the difference between a croque monsieur and a croque madame?
What is Classic Croque Monsieur?
The Croque monsieur is a baked or fried boiled ham and cheese sandwich. The dish originated in French cafés and bars as a quick snack. A Croque Madame is a dish topped with a fried egg.
In France, it may be served with a side dish of salad or French fries and often accompanied by a glass of beer or cider.
The name Croque monsieur means "crunchy mister. “The word croque comes from the verb croque ("to crunch"), which is also used for the Croquette (croquettes), each of which is prepared by deep-frying ground meat or fish mixed with mashed potatoes into small cylinders.
Ingredients of Croque Monsieur
The ingredients of a classic Croque monsieur sandwich are simple,
- Including bread, cheese (traditionally Gruyère), and cooked ham. Some variations use béchamel sauce instead of or in addition to cheese.
- Recipes for the dish sometimes include mustard, which can be spread on the bread before adding other ingredients. The sandwich is then grilled or fried, usually in butter.
Croque Monsieur is a cheese Sandwich
The classic Croque monsieur is a hot ham and cheese sandwich. Gruyere is the cheese traditionally used in a Croque monsieur, although Emmental, Comte, or Beaufort can also be used. The sandwich is topped with Mornay sauce made with Gruyere.
The French word croque translates to "crunch," so the name of this dish translates to "crunchy mister." It's a play on words and a comment on the crunchiness of the bread and the fried outside of this hot sandwich.
- Croque monsieur is typically served for lunch or dinner and often appetizers.
- Because it's so rich, it's typically served with a side salad to cut through some of the richness.
Origin of Croque Monsieur
Croque monsieur is a popular dish in France. It consists of ham, cheese, and bread. There are many variations of the dish, such as croquet Madame and croque Provençale.
Croque Monsieur literally means "crunch sir." The buttery outside of the sandwich is crunchy (but not as crunchy as a grilled cheese sandwich). The history of croque monsieur goes back to the early 1900s in France. It was a hot cheese sandwich served at cafes. The earliest known mention of the dish was in 1910, but it was not very popular. The dish became more famous in the 1920s when it was frequently mentioned in books and magazines. In the UK, it is sometimes known as a French sandwich or toasted ham-and-cheese sandwich.
Story behind Croque Monsieur
Today, Croque monsieur is a French grilled cheese sandwich with ham. But if you ask anyone in France, they'll tell you that it's much more than that. The classic version of the sandwich features ham and cheese, but it can also include béchamel sauce, making it a Croque Madame.
The Story behind Croque Monsieur
- Croque monsieurs are a staple of bistros and brasseries in France. The classic version is toasted bread topped with ham and melted Gruyère cheese.
- A dash of mustard is often added for extra flavor, and the sandwich is typically served with Pommes frites (French fries).
- A Croque Madame includes an egg on top. Some restaurants add the egg fried or poached; others bake the egg into the sandwich itself.
In the UK, there are many variations of this classic dish. Some people like to add extra cheese or serve it on sourdough bread instead of white bread. Others use different types of cheese (like Swiss or cheddar) or use different ingredients all together (such as bacon or tomato).
Is Croque Monsieur a Breakfast?
If you're familiar with the Croque Madame, then a Croque monsieur is kind of like its savory ham and cheese sandwich cousin and you can try the recipe of tastesbetterfromscratch.
The Croque monsieur originated in France and is a popular breakfast sandwich that consists of ham, cheese, and bread.
- The bread used for this sandwich is usually buttered and toasted or fried.
- It's then layered with the ham and cheese and either baked or fried with more cheese on top until it turns golden brown.
A French classic, the Croque monsieur is a favorite among many. But is it appropriate to eat for breakfast?
In France, a Croque monsieur can be eaten at any time of the day. Whether it's breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it can be enjoyed as part of a meal. In France, brunch isn't a thing, so if you're traveling there and are craving something sweet in the morning, you might want to skip the Croque monsieur since it is more savoury than sweet.
Depending on where you're from, though, you may not necessarily consider this a breakfast food because of how filling it is.
Difference between a Croque Monsieur and a Croque Madame
- A Croque Monsieur is a French ham and cheese dish on buttered bread. It's often served as a sandwich, with the cheese and ham melted into the bread by gently browning the outside of the sandwich.
- A Croque Madame is similar, but it has an egg on top of it. Some people like to cook the egg into the sandwich itself, while others set an egg on top to cook separately while heating the rest of the ingredients. The name comes from "Madame," meaning "woman" or "wife" in French because if you say a woman is a Croque Madame, she'll probably hit you.
Some people have suggested that monsieur is more masculine and more likely to come from Monsieur Balzac than Madame Bovary. Others note that this is often served for breakfast in France, when men are traditionally more likely to work than women.
In practice, however, there isn't much of a difference between them besides the appearance — both are made with the same basic ingredients — so it may not matter much whether you have one or the other if you don't want to.
Best Wine which goes with Croque Monsieur
Croque monsieur is an indulgent French sandwich made with ham, cheese, and buttery bread. It's a rich dish that deserves a wine pairing with enough body and flavor to stand up to it.
Fortunately, the perfect wine for Croque monsieur comes from the region where the sandwich originated:
- Burgundy; A pinot noir from Burgundy will have noticeable acidity to cut through the richness of this hearty dish.
- You can also pair a glass of white wine with Croque monsieur; a chardonnay from Burgundy (or any other region) will be ideal. Chardonnay's flavors can range from fruit-forward to buttery. Go for chardonnay on the fruitier side since Croque monsieur already has plenty of buttery notes.
Croque Monsieur - What wine to choose?
The classic wine choice for Croque Monsieur is a glass of Chardonnay or a red Burgundy.
- Alternative wines: Chablis, Chassagne-Montrachet, Meursault, Saint-Véran, Pouilly-Fuissé.
- In the same category: Croque Madame (topped with an egg), Mornay sauce
Best Bread for Croque Monsieur
Croque Monsieur is the epitome of comfort food: a warm, toasted sandwich filled with ham and melted cheese. It's like a grilled cheese sandwich, but better.
To make a great Croque Monsieur, you need to start with great bread. And the best bread for this classic sandwich is brioche.
- Brioche is sweet, buttery yeast bread rich in eggs and butter. It's soft and pulled together, so it's ideal for stuffing with fillings like ham and cheese without falling apart. With its golden color and airy texture, it's also perfect for soaking up the runny egg yolk that tops this dish.
If you can't find brioche at your local supermarket, look for country-style white bread or challah instead. And if you're feeling ambitious, you can even make your own by the recipe of bbcgoodfood.
How to eat Croque Monsieur?
The best answer is the obvious one: Cut it in half, pick it up and take a bite.
The second-best answer is more complicated: If the sandwich is hot, wait until it is cool enough to eat safely. I know some people who will lift the top of the Croque monsieur and blow on the béchamel sauce, but this takes a lot of air and risks spraying béchamel all over yourself and your companions. I have also seen people cut off a corner of the sandwich and blow into that, but that requires holding a knife in your mouth, which I would not recommend in polite company.
- If you're wearing nice clothes, you might want to use a knife and fork. The top piece of bread can be lifted with a fork and eaten separately from the rest of the sandwich.
- This method allows you to monitor how much sauce ends up on your shirt, but it does not allow you to make any graceful gestures while eating, so I don't recommend it for first dates or job interviews.
What do the French eat with Croque Monsieur?
This is a bit more complicated than it seems. The most common side dishes are French fries or potato salad. But those are not the only options! You can also have green salads, coleslaw, or roasted vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, or tomatoes.
As for drinks, the most popular ones are probably beer or cider, but again there are no limits -- a glass of wine will also be fine.
- In the past, croque monsieur usually came with Pommes frites (French fries) and salad. Today, the dish is more often served with a side of mesclun.
- This mix of assorted baby greens is tossed in vinaigrette and is a common side dish in France.
To make a mesclun salad:
- Combine baby spinach, Boston lettuce, and arugula.
- Add equal amounts of watercress and radicchio as desired.
- Dress with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice or white wine vinegar to taste.
Side dish for Croque Monsieur
The classic side for a Croque monsieur is a salad. If you're lucky, it will be dressed with Dijon mustard vinaigrette. If you're really lucky, the salad will also include some chopped cornichons, which add a nice acidic bite to cut through the richness of the sandwich.
- If you're not feeling like a salad, some Pommes frites are always an excellent option.
- A nice bowl of French onion or lentil soup would also be a good accompaniment to a Croque monsieur.
Croque Monsieur with egg
Nothing says "breakfast" like a sandwich made of fried ham and cheese, slathered in béchamel sauce and topped with a whole egg. At least not this one, which is more decadent than any breakfast I can imagine.
I'd never eaten a croque monsieur topped with an egg before I tried it at Fonda Nolita, but there's no way I'm eating one without one now. The yolk adds richness to the already-rich sandwich and makes it feel like brunch.
- The trick to making a good Croque Monsieur is to make sure your ham is very thinly sliced and that you add plenty of cheese.
- Otherwise, it can be dry and boring. Some people like to add Gruyère instead of Emmentaler or another Swiss cheese, but it gets too strong for my liking.
- Also, make sure your white sauce is thick enough that it won't drip between the bread slices when you bite into the sandwich, but not so dense that it overwhelms the other ingredients.
- And if you have time, toast your bread slightly before putting the sandwiches together so the crust won't get soggy while they bake.
Once assembled, bake until the cheese has melted completely and the edges are golden brown
Vegetarian Croque Monsieur
This vegetarian Croque monsieur is a sort of quesadilla that meets grilled cheese. It's filled with cheddar, tomatoes, and spinach and then dipped in egg and fried until golden brown.
A Croque Monsieur is a French sandwich usually made with ham, cheese, and béchamel sauce. The best ones have a crispy crust from being fried or broiled from foodnetwork. I think it's time to make this one vegetarian!
- You can make the filling for this one super healthy with tomatoes, spinach, and herbs, or you can stick with some good ol' cheddar cheese for a more classic taste.
- I went the healthy route for my vegetarian Croque monsieur, but I've also included directions for making it more like a classic ham and cheese if you want to give it a try. The cheddar alone is very tasty, though!