Sunday, 27 January 2013

grilled cheese croque monsieur - a random recipe

... one of the reason's The Viking and I put on so much weight this holiday was our addiction to these cheesy little babies... 'grilled cheese' as they call them in the good old US of A but 'croque monsieur' to you and me.  I feel a bit of a cheat giving you a recipe for these as they are essentially a 'cheese-toasty', as we called them when I was growing up but then this is a recipe from the great American cookbook How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman and if I learnt anything from my trip to the states it was that they do stuff their way and if you don't like it then don't eat it and go home and do it your own way... just don't bother arguing with them... and whilst the croque monsieur may be a French culinary institution with as many methods to perfection as the humble British scone, the grilled cheese is something altogether different...

...Mr Bittman gives us a mind-boggling plethora of options for the grilled cheese, from the classic Tuna Melt to the oh-so-sweet Grilled Nut Butter and Banana Sandwich... oh yes... but wether you go for wholewheat, sourdough, brioche, buttered, un-buttered, sugar-coated or just plain, the method, as outlined below, is the same... and that's what I love about this mountain of a book, it has ALL the options you could ever think of.  This is less of a book that someone at my level of cooking skill reads but rather refers to when stuck for ideas... it's like google in paper form... it ALWAYS has the answer... i'm glad my step-mother Jette had a copy in her kitchen and i'm even happier they sent me a copy for christmas...

grilled cheese croque monsieur
this is absolutely and positively NOT on my diet regime which is why i'm not going to be eating this but feeding The Viking with it instead... I feel slightly guilty doing this as I've never considered myself a true 'feeder' but clearly i must be and now that the diet is in full swing I think I may have just upped my game... make the cake... don't eat the cake... feed the cake to neighbour or friend... does this make me evil... well i'm not going to worry too much about it, especially after the ooh's and ahh's coming from the dining table...

2 slices of bread... i'm using a home-made wholemeal loaf but seriously you can use anything... the book recommends something slightly sweet like brioche or challa
A large chunk of grated gruyere cheese
1 egg beaten with a little milk
a chunk of vegetarian parmesan or lincolnshire poacher finely grated
1 teaspoon of english mustard or horseradish sauce
fyi i'm not using slices of ham as this is a veggie version for The Viking... feel free to add it as you see fit

beat the egg and milk with the grated parmesan and mustard then slice 2 nice thick slices of bread

soak the bread slices in the beaten egg mixture until it's all soaked up

place a small, heavy pan on the heat, add a nob of butter with a little olive oil and once melted add one slice of the soaked bread quickly followed by the grated gruyere and then topped with the other slice of soaked bread

lay a plate on top of the sandwich and place 2 or 3 food tins on top to weigh it down - cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the underside is golden brown, then flip the sandwich over, place the plate on top with the tins and cook again for another 2 or 3 minutes

once brown all over, cut in half and eat and of course enjoy immediately!


  1. better man than me Mr Franks, I make it, I want to eat it that's my motto.

    can't beat a good cheese toastie. yum

  2. For us, the bread makes all the difference and the cheese must be a sharp aged cheddar and the ham from Virginia. I don't know if Mark mentions this
    (yes, we have a copy), but it's especially good with a pour of warmed maple syrup over as a brunch treat. Good luck with the diet!


  3. You probably know that most of us colonists grew up on grilled cheese with Campbell's tomato soup for lunch. There are so many varieties of both bread and cheese available that I dare say a person could go a year without repeating any one combination.

  4. I picked up a copy of this book at 'The Works' a few years ago for just a couple of quid (my cookbook addiction coming out again), but it is sat on the shelf and I hardly ever look at it. I'll have to get it down and revisit it. But this looks so tempting with all that melty cheese I don't know how you managed to give it away! :) x

  5. I have a weakness for that sweet chutney known as "hamburger relish" toasted with my cheese. (Please don't tell anyone!)

  6. Dom, I may have told you this before, but when SB and I went to Cleveland a couple years ago (a baseball pilgrimage)we found a restaurant called 'Melt' ... all things melted with cheese between two pieces of bread ... it was like dying and going to heaven for a grilled cheese fanatic! You'd have appreciated it, I'm sure. Your butt? Maybe not so much, but your palate? Oh, yes!

  7. I've always wondered what the big deal was with 'grilled cheese' it's just cheese on toast right? But obviously not, yours seems to be a combination of french toast and a toastie hmmm, I'm still not convinced, very nice and all that but I can't rave about cheese on toast! Don't eat it Dom and stop fattening up The Viking!

  8. I like the strategy of decreasing your calorie intake by transferring the calories to The Viking instead! Cunning plan. I find that eating a leaf of lettuce along with the Cheese Toastie has a somewhat similar effect...

  9. Wow this looks luxurious - taking a cheese toastie to the next level! Sounds delish, will definitely give it a try.

  10. I can definitely see the attraction of this. So can my thighs. Mmmm

  11. Sometimes there is nothing better than a simple cheese toasty. Looks delicious!

  12. Your grilled cheese looks yummy. The Viking must have loved it. Great self control on your part. Next time make a tomato soup to dunk the sandwich in. Very American. I grew up on grilled cheese sandwiches. My favorite was imported ham and provolone cheese. Now I like cheddar and apple with sweet mustard.

  13. This looks immense, I love cheese toasties/grilled cheese/croque monsieur the bread and cheese are so important, and I love hot sauce in mine to wake me up in the morning.

  14. Croque monsieur and it's relative, croque madame (the same thing but with a fried egg on top) are two of my favourite things to eat when in France, especially if they're made to order and not the frozen versions. This looks wonderful so I will definitely have to try it - the idea of putting lots of weights on top is a hoot !!

    I don't know how you managed to resist it, I could not have done that !!

  15. This looks yummy, reminding me that the simnplest recipes but with good ingredients are often the most tempting. Made Croque Madame for brunch yesterday - delicious too. How can you go wrong with toasted bread, melting cheese, egg..I'm hungry!

  16. Whatever we want to call them Dom I love their cheesy goodness.

  17. I LOVE Mark Bittman's recipes, I was lucky enough to be sent one of his books from a friend in the States! Those toasted cheese sarnies look like JUST my kinda meal, and cheese is also my downfall too Dom! Karen


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  19. Randomly delicious and great for the cold id say!

  20. Now that sounds like pure heaven and if one of those was put on my plate I would not care a toss what it was called - just love Gruyere cheese.

  21. LOL, do you want cheese with that? I get very confused by croque monsieur and croque madame, never understand why it doesn't have the word "fromage" in the name!

  22. Looking at this, I am wishing I could eat cheese - it looks immense!


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