Elegant Ham & Cheese Melt

Inspired from the French Classic – Croque Monsieur – my version uses the base béchamel sauce but instead of Gruyere I use mature cheddar and Parmigiano Reggiano. For the bread I use nice crusty sourdough giving the sandwich a delicious crunchiness which compliments the smooth & silky luxurious cheese sauce.

Ingredients (2 Sandwiches)

50g soft butter
50g mature cheddar
30g parmesan cheese
1 tbsp flour
100ml milk
Pinch of nutmeg
Dijon Mustard
Pinch of white pepper
Small pinch of salt (the parmesan and cheddar already adds a salty flavour)
4 x Ham slices
4 slices sourdough

Method:

1. Start by lightly buttering the 4 slices of bread and place under a grill at 200 deg until toasted around the edges and slightly browned. Remove and set aside. Turn over the slices and lightly spread Dijon Mustard and layer with ham and then sprinkle cheese (about 40g onto the ham). Set aside.

2. For the cheesy sauce; melt the butter and then add the flour. Whisk together cooking for around 2 minutes, then add the milk slowly, whisking all the time as you do until all milk is incorporated into a smooth luxurious thick sauce. Cook for a further 3 minutes to cook flour through. Take off the heat, season and stir in the remainder of the cheese till melted.

3. Return the ham & cheese layered slices to the grill until cheese is bubbling and melted. Remove and place toasted side up slices on top and spoon over the cheesy sauce.

4. Return to grill and watch carefully as sauce starts browning. Br careful not have the heat too high or your sandwich too close to the grill as it can burn easily. You are looking for a nice brown colour.

5. Remove from grill and serve immediately. Yum

TIP: You can add a poached or fried egg served on top to make it a very substantial breakfast or snack.

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