Makes 4 sandwiches
1 cup milk
½ cup heavy cream or crème fraîche
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 extra-large egg yolks, reserved in a large bowl
8 slices brioche or other hearty white bread
8 slices thinly sliced ham (preferably Madrange ham)
12 ounces (about 4 cups) shredded Gruyère cheese
Prepare the béchamel: In a medium saucepan combine the milk and cream and cook over medium heat until hot. While the milk mixture is heating, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Using a wire whisk, add the flour to the butter and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble but does not brown, about 2 minutes. Add the hot milk mixture, salt, and pepper to the flour mixture, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil. Continue to cook the sauce, whisking all the while, until it thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk 1 cup of the sauce into the egg yolks, and then whisk this mixture back into the remaining sauce in the saucepan. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the sauce and allow to cool and thicken. (The cooled Béchamel can be kept, covered and refrigerated, up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before continuing.)
Make the Croque Monsieur: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the eight slices of bread on a work surface and using a small spatula, spread a thin layer of Béchamel sauce on each slice of bread. Divide the ham equally among the bread slices and top each with ¼ cup of Gruyère cheese. Place a slice of bread, béchamel side down, over the sandwich. Spread another layer of Béchamel on the surface of the sandwich. Divide the remaining Gruyère over the top of the sandwiches. Transfer the sandwiches to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake until the cheese is nice and melted, about 10 minutes. To add the final touch, broil the sandwiches to brown the top a bit. Slice in half and serve immediately.
I love cooking with cheese as much as I love eating it as part of a cheese course. I’m often asked what my favorite recipe with cheese is and to be honest, it’s a toss-up between a great grilled cheese sandwich and homemade mac and cheese using a blend of Gruyère, Comté and Beaufort. But, when I’m feeling especially needy for a soul-satisfying meal, I make myself a combination of the two: a traditional French Croque Monsieur sandwich. It’s the quintessential grilled cheese sandwich of France. You can add a fried egg on top and that’s called a Croque Madame. Traditionally made with a rich Béchamel sauce it’s moist, gooey, and super-satisfying.
This was one of the best recipes we have made in a long time. The basil mint oil ties all the flavors together. We have been dreaming about this since we last made it! Optional: grill the watermelon slices, too, for an interesting contrast and serve over a bed of arugula.
Original source: Bon Appetit
Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Purée basil, 3 tablespoons mint, and garlic in a blender. With machine running, add 1/2 cup oil. Set a strainer over a small bowl; strain, pressing on solids. Season with salt and pepper.
Brush grill rack with oil. Drizzle 2 tablespoons basil-mint oil over tomatoes and cheese; season with salt and pepper. Grill tomatoes, turning occasionally, until charred and bursting, about 4 minutes. Grill cheese until nicely charred in spots and beginning to melt, about 45 seconds per side.
Arrange melon on a platter. Top with cheese and tomatoes. Drizzle remaining herb oil over; garnish with sliced mint.
Slightly sweet, light and fluffy with little pockets of goat cheese, these biscuits are the perfect complement to summer's fresh strawberry harvest. Courtesy of Carrie Burrill of Bakeaholic Mama.
I've made this dish for 4 dinner guests for an intimate dinner party and I've also made it for 12 dinner guests as a hearty meal apres ski. It works for either because it's so easy. The only time consuming part is searing off the shanks. But be patient, get a good sear on all sides and you'll be rewarded with tons of flavor. I've often skipped the pan sauce without any loss of flavor and simply poured vermouth, dry white wine, or even red wine on the shanks. Serve with roasted rosemary potatoes or whipped garlic mashed potatoes.
2 leeks (white and light-green parts only), washed well, cut into matchsticks
4 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into matchsticks
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 strips orange zest (use a vegetable peeler)
Crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 lamb shanks (about 1 lb. each) (these will taper down on one end
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
1-1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into 4 slices
Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F.
Arrange four 16x16-inch squares of heavy-duty aluminum foil on a work surface. Put one-quarter of the leeks, one-quarter of the carrots, 1 rosemary sprig, and 1 strip of orange zest on each square. Season each with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Pat the lamb shanks dry and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering hot. Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, brown the shanks on all sides, about 10 minutes total per batch. Transfer 1 shank to each foil square, arranging it on top of the vegetables. Draw up the edges of the foil to capture any juice, but don’t seal the packets yet.
Return the skillet to medium heat, add the vermouth, and bring to a simmer, scraping the skillet with a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat. Portion the vermouth evenly among the 4 packets, pouring it over the lamb. Dot each shank with a slice of the butter.
Fold the foil to form rectangular packets, sealing the seams tightly. Arrange the packets on a baking sheet; it’s fine if they touch but they shouldn’t overlap. Bake for 2-1/2 hours; then check for doneness by carefully opening one of the packets (watch out for the steam) and testing the meat with a fork—it should be tender and pulling away from the bone. If necessary, continue to bake for another 10 minutes and check again.
Transfer the contents of the packets to large plates or pasta bowls, surrounding the shanks with the vegetables and juice. Remove the rosemary and orange zest before serving, if you like.