Fleur de Lolly: Turn leftover ham into croque monsieur | Food/Recipes

As I have told my faithful readers for years, I have never cooked a recipe from Ina Garten that was not delicious, unique and perfect. The following recipe is no exception.

The croque monsieur is a baked or fried ham and cheese sandwich. That seems so simplistic. But when you top with a lovely Gruyère and Parmesan cheese sauce, bake and then broil — this is SO much more than a plain ham and cheese sandwich.

If you have leftover ham during the holiday season, don’t just make a boring ham and cheese for your friends.

Wow them with this version!

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

• 12 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (5 cups)

• 2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

• 16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed (I left mine on)

• 8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced, but not paper-thin

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

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, continually whisking, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat, add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, cup grated Gruyère and the Parmesan, and set aside.

To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each piece and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted. Lightly brush half the toasted pieces of bread with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyère. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyère, 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.

From Ina Garten’s “Barefoot in Paris”

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