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Barefoot! Croque Monsieur

April 23, 2009


This week’s Barefoot recipe comes from my favorite Ina book, Barefoot in Paris.  The recipe was chosen by Kathy of All Food Considered for all of us to put our utensils to use making a rich, savory sandwich filled with ham and delicious cheese.  

As a child I was never a fan of hot ham and cheese sandwiches.  In fact, the only sandwich I ever really wanted was grandmama’s homemade wheat bread with a smear of natural peanut butter.  Years later I would come to appreciate the sandwiches my dad threw together in the morning, sending me off to school brown bag in hand during my last few years of high school.  I was still pretty particular though.  I’m freakish about what meats and cheeses go together… and Heaven forbid mayonnaise usage is gloppy.  The only use I have for mayonnaise, or any other condiment for that matter, is to simply kiss the bread with moisture.  I’m a firm believer that sandwiches always taste better made by someone else’s hands…  

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Today I’m still pretty picky about sandwiches, preferring a crisp piece of homemade bread with a ton of lean protein and a thin slice of cheese with perhaps a teaspoon of mayonnaise to hold it all in.  

I had my reservations about this recipe.  You see, not only am I not a fan of sandwiches, I have serious issues with soggy bread.  Some of my fellow barefooter’s have seen my trepidation with adding bread to soup, making a salad with bread to get soggy and soak up the dressing… it’s a texture thing that I just can’t handle.


I showed the recipe to The Husband and his eyes lit up with culinary desire.   I knew I was stuck.  I had to make it because he was expecting it.  No worries, I grabbed my favorite applewood smoked Gruyere and some leftover Easter ham and set to work with a positive attitude.

To combat the texture thing, I sliced the ham into thick slices about 1/2″ thick then crisped it up with a teeny bit of olive oil in a skillet.  I used a nice crusty sourdough bread that I also sliced thick in hopes that it would retain it’s chewy texture instead of soaking up the cheese sauce and becoming soggy.  Otherwise, I stuck with the recipe (halving for the two of us).  


The good news is: The Husband loved it.  I, on the other hand (don’t stone me!)… get queasy thinking about it.  I ended up peeling the bread away and eating just the ham with a teeny bite of cheese.  You can find the recipe at Food Network or just go out and buy my favorite Barefoot book!


Not a barefooter yet?  You should be ashamed of yourself!  Come join us… we’re full of delicious dishes!

14 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2009 07:36

    I have texture issues, too. Mine are with slimy, soft-textured cheeses. I won’t touch brie or American cheese with a 10-foot pole.

    Good for you for making it despite your texture issues. You must really love your DH. 🙂

  2. April 23, 2009 08:06

    Sorry you didn’t like it, but sounds like your husband was a happy camper!

  3. April 23, 2009 08:17

    Oh no, sorry you didn’t like it! Very sweet that you went ahead with the recipe for your husband. I am not a mushy bread fan either but for some reason mine did not get mushy, maybe a little soft under the sauce, but just barely. These turned out as really crispy sandwiches for us. Yours look great 🙂

  4. April 23, 2009 08:48

    Hey! I finally got my computer to allow me to come to your site.

    I am so sorry that you didn’t care for this sandwich.

    I thought it was fabulous!

  5. April 23, 2009 09:24

    I’m sorry you didn’t care of the recipe, but you gave it the good ‘ol college try! Your ham looked exceptional. Can I come over next Easter?

  6. April 23, 2009 14:19

    I agree about textures and I absolutely hate mayo. My bread was very crispy cause it was foccacia. Your ham looks wonderful.

  7. April 23, 2009 21:21

    I am with you on textures, but we didn’t have the “soggy” issue.

    Did you toast it before? That totally solved it for me. Broiling the cheese at the end made the top nice and crispy.

    By the way, I just found out that one of my daughter’s preschool friends is an investor in Teller’s…care to hang out there sometime?

    😉 amy

  8. April 23, 2009 22:24

    Hate that you didn’t love this yummy recipe…, but the thick slice ham would have been up my dh’s alley! Thanks for sharing!

  9. April 24, 2009 06:38

    I am so craving these now, I keep coming across them in the blogosphere. Looks great!

  10. April 25, 2009 06:54

    Your pictures look great. It’s funny what texture does to us. I can’t eat tofu because I think the texture is just like kitchen sponge…not that I’ve eaten kitchen sponge……

  11. April 25, 2009 11:28

    Sorry you didn’t like it! I’m with you on the mayo. I thought for years I hated it. Turns out I actually like it, only in very small amounts.

  12. April 25, 2009 20:35

    So sorry you didn’t like this one, but it was pretty rich. I mixed it up a bit too, but I think we have to do that to make things we/our families will like. Yours looks yummy!

  13. whatsonmyplate permalink
    April 26, 2009 18:23

    Too bad you didn’t like this one. I didn’t find the bread soggy…but I toasted it fairly heavily and my cheese sauce wasn’t that liquidy so that might have had something to do with it.


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