Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Barefoot in Paris: Croque Monsieur

I bet you know the Barefoot Contessa. I don't watch tv and I know the Barefoot Contessa. She is the sort of cook that seeks out the best ingredients, the best flavors, the best recipes, but also finds ways to solve the problems of recipes that take too much time or ask for odd ingredients. Her cookbooks are a joy to cook from. 

I found a copy of Barefoot in Paris for my Paris in July adventure this year, and I spent a lovely afternoon reading through the book and bookmarking recipes that look promising. 

And though my first choice to try was Lemon Chicken with Croutons, sadly I'm cooking during the pandemic, I am only doing grocery pickup every two weeks, and I don't have a nice roasting chicken right now. 

So instead I decided to try Croque Monsieur. 

I had an additional step, but it's one you certainly do not have to do. I made my own loaf of bread. The crust on this bread really added to the flavor of the Croque Monsieur.

Croque Monsieur


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
Dijon mustard
8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.
  3. To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.
  4. Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.

Oh my goodness. The cheese.

For more wordless photos, go to Wordless Wednesday.

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  1. That cheese sauce is to die for!

  2. Croque monsieur is so good! Some of our cafes like to serve Croque madame too!

  3. This looks delicious!! I will have to give it a try. I love the Barefoot Contessa. :)

    1. My sister used a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa last year for my birthday for Beef Bourguignon. It was the best meal I've ever had.

  4. This looks way too fabulous! I love Ina's recipes -- I only had one fail and I think it had to do with operator error (too short a refrigeration time on my end!) Everything else -- yum. You're right -- she uses good ingredients but has ways to make things easier. I think you can find some of her videos online and she's fun to watch! Thanks for this. I don't have the Paris cookbook. I may need to find it!

  5. That looks so nice! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I love collecting recipes. I have a little box that I just chuck all the scraps of paper with recipes on, in. Every now and then I will sort it and write it on nice cards. This will go into the box!

    I've promised to share if I do another Wednesday Wisdom Hope you enjoy it!

    1. I do the same thing with my recipes. I prefer the physical recipes to e-recipes.

      Thanks for sharing Wednesday Wisdom.

  6. My daughter, the adventurous cook, is a big fan of The Barefoot Contessa. I'll have to mention this recipe to her. It sounds delicious!

  7. Sounds like a French pasty to me looks like it tastes nice though

  8. This sounds so delicious! Croque Monsieur is the French version of grilled cheese, one can say. Butter, cheese and bread: staples that go a long way.

  9. This may be the only BC cookbook that I don't own! How did that happen?? I have never heard of Croque Monsieur, but it looks very similar to another recipe that I've been making a few times during the pandemic: Welsh Rarebit. I make the melted cheese sauce (Cheddar, not Gruyere) and serve with crisp bacon on a toasted English muffin. I'll have to try this French version along with a simple Caesar salad. Thanks for the recommendation, Deb!

  10. I love the simple version of the croque monsieur too — more of a toasted cheese dipped in beaten egg and griddled. This sounds like a great extension of the recipe.

    The thought of literally going barefoot in Paris sets my teeth on edge. Just not clean enough in any way at all! But I don’t think I’d want to go barefoot in any big city. The Parisians really aren’t that conscientious about their dogs, for starters!

    be well... mae at

  11. Oh, what a memory. A few years back we ended up riding bikes through the french countryside on little money. This was one of our go to lunchs in little towns at the TABAC or hotel. The secret i think would be in the mustard & the quality of cheese.

  12. This looks so yummy. I haven't ever cooked a French dish. I should try something like this.

  13. I'm partial to a croque monsieur myself, but turn it into a croque madame and I can't get enough!! something about the mustard, egg and cheese altogether works for me :-)

  14. My mouth is watering just looking!


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