Croque Madame


5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
4 slices white bread
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 ounces best-quality deli ham, thinly sliced
2 large eggs
Ground pepper to taste


Preheat the broiler with the rack in the top position. In small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over high heat. Whisk in flour and cook until lightly golden. Add milk and salt and whisk constantly until mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir into the sauce the nutmeg and half the cheese.

Lay the slices of bread on a baking sheet. Divide the Dijon between 2 slices and top with ham. Divide half of the bechamel between the remaining 2 bread slices and top with remaining cheese. Close the sandwiches.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sandwiches and cook both sides until bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted, about 3-4 minutes.

Return sandwiches to the baking sheet, top with remaining bechamel, and place under the broiler until bubbly, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in the same skillet over high heat. Fry eggs, sunny side up, for about 2 minutes. Top sandwiches with fried egg, season with black pepper, and serve immediately.

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