more cheese please

My favorite memory from French class was when we learned how to make Croque Monsieurs, I think I made them for weeks after! We made them with ham, Gruyere, mustard, and buttered grilled bread. I recently found a great recipe from one of my favorites, Ina Garten. She prepares hers with a cheesy b├ęchamel sauce which I was a little unsure about but it was very easy to make and made the sandwich out of this world good! Who doesn't love melted cheese?!

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of all purpose flour
2 cups hot milk (I had the milk warming in another pot)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
pinch of nutmeg (this adds great flavor)
12 ounces of Gruyere cheese grated, (about 5 cups)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
16 slices of white sandwich bread sans crusts (it not makes the sandwich look cleaner but it keeps it moist)
Dijon mustard
8 ounces of sliced, baked Virginia ham

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Sauce: Over a medium low heat, melt the butter and add the flour for 2 minutes. Slowly add the hot milk, I had mine on the stove for about 5-7 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken. Turn off the heat and add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, and stir in the 1/2 cup of Parmesan and 1/2 cup of Gruyere. You'll see that it will get thick and the cheese will melt right into the sauce.

Sandwich: cut the edges of the bread and places slices of bread in the oven for a minute or two on each side until lightly golden brown. Spread Dijon on one side, top with ham, some grated Gruyere, top with the other toasted slice of bread. Slather on some of the sauce on top of the sandwich and top with a little more Gruyere (YES all this cheese is necessary). Place all the assembled sandwiches back in the oven for about 3-5 minutes so you can warm the insides (no one wants cold ham) and then turn the oven to broil so you can get the tops a little browned and bubbly...make sure you watch the sandwiches while they are broiling (I learned that one the hard way). IF you can...wait a few minutes for the sandwich to cool before devouring :)

Bon Appetit!