Barefoot! Croque Monsieur
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…
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!