Croque-Madame

by Ann Marie Michaels on September 2, 2010

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I don’t know about you but I’m always looking for healthy breakfast ideas. You can only eat fried eggs so many days in a row.

The croque-monsieur is a French hot sandwich made with ham and cheese. You see them everywhere in cafes in Paris.

The name is based on the verb croquer (“to crunch”) and the word monsieur (“mister”) The reason behind the combination of the two words is unclear — and is colloquially shortened to croque.

The croque-madame is the feminine version, which includes a fried egg on top. I prefer the madame because it is more nutritious — and I just love runny egg yolks with toast.

Although this is typically eaten as a lunch or snack in France, it also makes a yummy and nutritious breakfast.

Croque-Madame – French Ham & Cheese Sandwich with a Fried Egg

Serves: 4

Ingredients

Sprouted, sourdough or gluten-free bread (8 slices)
Swiss cheese, grass-fed, organic, sliced (8 oz)
Ham, pastured or humanely-raised, nitrate-free, sliced (12 oz)
Eggs, pastured or free-range organic (4)
Butter, grass-fed, unsalted (3 TBS)
Sea salt -
Black pepper, freshly ground

Equipment

Two-sided grill or cast iron or stainless steel skillet

Directions

1. Spread butter on one side of all the bread slices.
2. Set half of the slices of bread, buttered side down, and cover them with the cheese slices.
3. Place 3 or 4 slices of ham in an even layer over the cheese, and place the top slice of bread over the ham, buttered side up.
4. Grill the sandwiches in a two-sided grill or in a heavy bottomed pan, using butter and turn each sandwich once.
5. In a small cast-iron skillet or pan, melt the butter.
6. Crack an egg into the pan, being careful not to break the yolk.
7. Add a teaspoon of water to the pan, sprinkle with a little sea salt, and cover the pan with a lid.
8. Cook egg for 3 to 6 minutes, depending on how firm you like your egg yolk cooked.
9. Center fried egg over grilled sandwich and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
10. Fry remaining eggs in the same manner.
11. Serve sandwiches.

Photo credit: Fenchurch! on Flickr

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

rebecca September 2, 2010 at 11:38 PM

Now THAT is a great idea… I don’t know why I’d never thought to have one for breakfast before!

It’d probably be great with bacon instead of ham too, huh? Ooh, or with hollandaise drizzled all over it. Ok I can’t wait to wake up in the morning now :).
.-= rebecca´s last blog ..Balsamic roasted figs =-.

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lintonpair September 3, 2010 at 2:52 AM

Looks wonderful!!

Pity half the ingredients here would bring that sandwich for breakfast for a family of 4 up to $45
*sigh*

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Lovelyn September 3, 2010 at 6:05 AM

If I wasn’t mostly gluten free I’d have that for breakfast all the time. It looks so delicious. Oh, how I miss bread. I know I can make gluten free bread, but I’m just too lazy and the gluten free bread I can buy in the store seems a bit suspect to me.
.-= Lovelyn´s last blog ..Incorrect =-.

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City Share September 3, 2010 at 7:34 AM

Yum. That looks delicious. That would make for a great weekend breakfast treat. I have been avoiding bread, but maybe it’s time for me to give sprouted wheat free bread a try. Do you have a suggestion for a brand? I know I probably should make it myself, but it’s just too hot out. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
.-= City Share´s last blog ..A Local Foods Feast with Friends =-.

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cheeseslave September 3, 2010 at 8:13 AM

I like Alvarado St. Bread. It’s from the west coast — not sure if they distribute on the east coast. Check in the health food store.

Look for a brand of sprouted bread that does not have sprouted soy.

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cheeseslave September 3, 2010 at 8:13 AM

@ Lovelyn

The coconut flour bread (see my recipes page) would be really good for this

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jacobus September 3, 2010 at 9:01 AM

Real croques require bechamel. Unfortunately, I’ve never found a gluten free way of making it that’s nearly as good as the real stuff.

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cheeseslave September 3, 2010 at 9:09 AM

@ lintonpair

Just curious — how did you come up with that number? I’m no math genius but I can’t figure out how you arrived at that.

I figure a loaf of sprouted bread costs about $4. That’s about .20 per slice. For 8 slices, that’s $1.60.

Grass-fed butter is cheap — maybe $2-$2.50 for 8 oz. 3 TBS = .47

Swiss cheese… not sure what it costs for grass-fed but maybe around $5 or $6 per 8 oz at the most… that would add $6. (You also don’t need to use that much — I like lots of cheese — you could cut that in half).

Pastured eggs cost me $4.50 per dozen. That’s .38 each. So about $1.50

The ham might cost as much as $1 per ounce which would be $12 — but again, you could use a lot less.

I haven’t added it up, but I think these servings are probably more geared toward a complete lunch or dinnner.

So that came out to about $21.57, or $5.39 per person. Of course that’s a lot of food per person. I would think kids would only need about half of one of these sandwiches — so if you have 2 kids, I’d say it would be more like $4 per person.

It’s a lot cheaper to eat oatmeal or waffles for breakfast, but those foods just don’t have the nutrition of eggs, cheese and ham.

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French Basketeer September 3, 2010 at 1:36 PM

Croque monsieur is one of those dishes that can tell you a lot about a cafe or restaurant. It is made in so many variations around France…the cheese, the bread type and thickness, the toasting. It can be just ok or it can knock your socks off….thank you for the post, and I agree, there is no way it costs $45 to make this, it’s very economical!!

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lintonpair September 3, 2010 at 2:13 PM

I live in Australia.

Loaf of sprouted bread from the health food store is $10
Didnt think on the sourdough level I can make that myself.
Cant buy Pastured butter here. Not ever seen it available and it isnt through lack of trying.
Nitrate free bacon is $32 a kilo and only sold in kilo lots from the one store I can source that carries it locally v’s regular bacon that I can pay $9 a kilo for and just get the weight I want. So conversely, I dont buy cheap store bacon.
Now the eggs I can do!

Im not saying Its impossible, but expense does come into play in Australia where organic/ humanely raised fare concerned. Also my city is patheticly expensive due to being the National Capitol.

Hoping the UK organic scene is cheaper when we move for 2013.

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coconutfreek July 21, 2011 at 2:52 AM

ouch, that does sound so spendy…….. I hope it is better for you in the UK!!!

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Jen B September 3, 2010 at 3:52 PM

re lintonpair
I just wanted to say that I live in Australia,mid-north coast of NSW,and agree that organic/pastured/humanely reared food can be exorbitantly priced.We are a family of 9,and I make my own sprouted or sourdough bread from wheat that I have sprouted and ground myself,bought in bulk-saves a heap of money.I have to make virtually all our baked goods simply out of financial necessity,and because the availibility of these items is not the same as it is in the US and the UK.We buy organic,pastured beef in bulk from a local farmer and it works out at $12 per kg for all cuts.I used to buy biodynamic butter from Paris Creek dairy(you have probably seen this at health food stores) and it is expensive.However,I looked into dairying standards and found that New Zealand cattle are free-range by default,grass-raised and free from hormones/antibiotics.So I now buy Mainland cheese from any of our supermarkets,and it costs around $11-$12 regularly.I always buy a heap of it when it is on special,for around $8-$9 a kg.Also,Woolworths stock Home Brand Unsalted Butter for $1.39 for 250g,and it is from New Zealand.I am not an expert,but I have been following a traditional foods diet for the last 6 years and I am pedantic about the quality of food I buy for my family.Hopefully I am doing the right thing!If any other Aussies out there have ideas,please let me know!I wouldn’t have made one iota of the progress I have achieved without the input from real food bloggers,particularly with recipe ideas.
Sorry to take up so much space here,off the topic,I just know how hard it can be to find new foods.

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coconutfreek July 21, 2011 at 2:51 AM

interesting and congratulations to your nice large family. that is great. and you feed your family so well. kudos to you!!

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lintonpair September 3, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Should keep in contact with me Jen. Maybe we can help one another and other Aussies out there who want to do things traditionaly.
I am just starting out on the same path you have been on for years. So throw me an email to nacmacfee@gmail.com and we can go from there if you would like.

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dana September 3, 2010 at 5:50 PM

definitely needs bechamel! that what makes its creamy dreamy delicious.

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Anna September 3, 2010 at 6:14 PM

Hi!
I was just wondering where you buy and/or what brand your ham is?
Thanks!

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cheeseslave September 3, 2010 at 6:43 PM

@ Anna

I either buy ham from our local farm, Rocky Canyon, at the farmer’s market, or sometimes I buy Niman Ranch which they have at Trader Joe’s.

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Christy September 3, 2010 at 8:05 PM

What are some of the brands that you use for your butter. I buy raw butter from a local co-op and it is $9 a pound. If I could find something equally good for me and cheaper that would be great!

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Cara @ Health Home and Happiness September 3, 2010 at 8:20 PM

I was thinking this would be great with coconut flour bread!

And beef bacon :)

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CatJB September 4, 2010 at 5:17 AM

Yep, I’m in Aus as well, down in Victoria, in the biggest city in our state, and I pay through the nose for raw milk, nitrate free bacon, pastured meat etc. Though I love the fact that I can get them at all and I’m very grateful for that.

I’ve not found raw butter or cheese, would love to though. I didn’t know homebrand butter is from NZ, I’ve given up buying that due to the 3 times it’s had a really odd, medicinal taste, which I thought must be due to where/how/what it’s stored next to.

But a delicious looking meal, I’ll be trying it for sure! Just gotta wait on my butcher to get his smoker fixed to do my bacon and ham order.
.-= CatJB´s last blog .. =-.

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Elizabeth September 4, 2010 at 7:16 AM

Lovelyn, Try Udi’s gluten free bread. It would be great with this dish. Alvarado St is wonderful bread, but it has added gluten.
Elizabeth

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Tara September 5, 2010 at 2:12 PM

I just made a new egg dish this morning:

http://rosemaryandthegoat.com/2010/09/04/souffled-cheddar-egg-nest/

It was so fun to make and turned out super yummy! I did mine in 4 individual ramekins and have leftovers for tomorrows breakfast. Plus- no grains!

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SteveBeisheim.com September 7, 2010 at 11:41 AM

I think eggs make an ideal breakfast… The whole morning cereal thing has got to go, at least for my type…
.-= SteveBeisheim.com´s last blog ..Blood Type 0 – Part 1 =-.

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coconutfreek July 21, 2011 at 2:47 AM

I’m type 0 too……. I don’t eat cereal either, except maybe 1 time a year, I just hvae to have a serving w/ cold coconut milk. SO GOOD. I know…….. it’s garbage. :-(

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Jen September 15, 2010 at 4:49 PM

Ooooo, that looks delicious! You are right, one can eat fried eggs (tasty as they are!) so many days in a row before they do seem a little…Well, one wants something new.

My friends think it odd, but often I’ll slide those eggs on top of my oatmeal, or on ‘naughty’ days, cheesy grits. This week it’s over ”fried” garlicky chickpeas. Guess we all have our tastes!

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coconutfreek July 21, 2011 at 2:46 AM

I guess I’m not too much of a variety person……. I can eat fried eggs 5 days a week and then the next week repeat it….Maybe I need some adventure in my life. :-)

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TwoBits2012 August 15, 2013 at 8:40 AM

Ooh Jen PLEASE post your garlicky chickpea recipe…and a fried egg over cheesy grits just sounds heavenly! <3

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Martha September 17, 2010 at 7:36 PM

I love croque-madame but never thought of making it for breakfast! Occasionally enjoy it as a lunch or dinner with a big green salad.
.-= Martha´s last blog ..Sally Fallon Explains The Traditional Healthy Diet =-.

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kandemom July 4, 2011 at 10:38 AM

This sounds so tasty! We eat eggs for breakfast quite often. Usually scrambled or fried and it does get boring after a while. I’ve never heard of this dish before, so I think I will give it a try. I’m not very inventive with my cooking so it is nice to see other peoples ideas to spice up an otherwise boring breakfast!

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feetofclay1678 July 4, 2011 at 6:51 PM

i made this a few weeks ago on a weekend morning, and the whole family devoured their helpings and then proceeded to scrape up some more.

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coconutfreek July 21, 2011 at 2:44 AM

breakfast, I think is my fave meal. these look really good

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Homebirthmama August 15, 2013 at 5:08 PM

I had no idea our family’s typical breakfast was so wonderfully French! One of our other fav breakfasts is gravy over cheesy scrambled eggs. Yum!

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