Sunday, April 13, 2008

Endless Possibilities...

Recently I spotted a post by Graeme over at Blood Sugar and then one by Jen of Use Real Butter, about sandwiches and how they love them so. Well, I’m a sandwich lovin’ girl too and I wanted to chime in on my favorite, the croque-monsieur.

Inspired once again by one of Ricardo’s latest recipes, Saturday night, I made these incredible sandwiches. I have always loved these kinds of open-faced sandwiches, covered with cheese and then broiled to get the cheese all golden and delicious. If they were on the menu at a restaurant, they were always my first choice. I tried to recreate them at home but there was always something missing. Saturday night, I finally realised it was the béchamel sauce that was missing from my previous attempts to make croque-monsieurs.

Now, I can’t stop thinking of all the different toppings I could use to make my next golden, crunchy croque-monsieur. Saturday night it was asparagus with capicolo, emmenthaler and parmesan cheese on a slice of sourdough. Sunday for lunch, I had some béchamel left over so I replaced the asparagus with tomatoes and had a totally different sandwich. You could use any kind of cheese, veggies or cold-cuts you want. Endless possibilities…

Asparagus Croque-Monsieur
Adapted from Ricardo volume 6 number 3

Cheese Béchamel
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
2 tbsp grated Emmenthaler cheese
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Bunch of asparagus, cleaned and tough part of stem removed
Olive oil
4 slices capicolo
4 slices of sourdough bread (approximately the same length as the asparagus)
Dijon mustard
Grated Emmenthaler and parmesan to top the sandwiches

For the cheese béchamel:

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add milk and whisk until it boils. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the cheeses and nutmeg. Stir to melt the cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the croque-monsieur:

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat broiler to 500F.

Spread asparagus on a baking sheet in a single layer and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook under the broiler for about 5 minutes, until the asparagus are al dente and start to get golden. Remove asparagus from the baking sheet and set aside.

On the same baking sheet, grill the bread slices on both sides. Spread a little Dijon mustard on each slice of bread then coat with a little béchamel sauce.

Divide the asparagus spears evenly between the 4 capicolo slices then roll the capicolo slices around the asparagus. Place the bundles on the bread slices then top with the grated cheeses.

Broil for 3 to 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.

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Alfie said...

Oh my word, I feel so hungry now and it's only 9.15 in the morning!!

Grace said...

i've been having trouble deciding if melted cheese or melted chocolate is more picturesque. cheese is pulling ahead after seeing your photos--they are drool-worthy. :)

and i agree--open-faced is totally the way to go!

Amy said...

Oh, mmm, those look so good!! It's only breakfast-time here, but I'd gladly eat that asparagus open-faced sandwich for breakfast. I agree -- open-faced sandwiches are my favorite kind, too. I may try that asparagus one next weekend for lunch...yum! Thanks for the recipe!

Ginny said...

Look great! Sandwiches are wonderful! I think it is the melted cheese that gets me. My boyfriend asked me the other day if he could do a guest post and what did he want to write about- sandwiches! :)

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

This looks absolutely fantastic for snacks or even a light meal.

Chuck said...

Wow! I have to give this a try and looks amazing! A perfect combination of ingredients. Well done!

Aimée said...

Bread and cheese have to be the staples of life and your sandwiches illustrate that beautifully! I always order croque-monsieur's too. If you are ever in Montreal, the best one in town is at L'Express.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I'm not all that crazy for sandwiches, LyB, but I can't skip the one with asparagus!

caity said...

Croque monsuieur's are my favorite! The cafe in my building at work makes them, and they are always a special treat. I'm going to have to make the asparagus one at home, yum!

brian said...

This looks so amazing. I'm definitely going to make this. Let's be blog friends.

The Mood Food Blog said...

This brings me back to Paris in the summer time! Yum! A great twist on a classic recipe.

Kevin said...

Those sandwiches look so good! I like the thought of an open faced croque-monsieur.

Sandy said...

Oh, delicious! I have asparagus in my fridge right now! YUM!

RecipeGirl said...

Just the shot of those asparagus drenched in the cheese and sauce have done me in. I want this now!

Tartelette said...

All the sandwiches look wonderful! Quick trick I learned from y uncle if you don't have the energy or time to make bechamel for the croques: put your grated cheese in a cup, add enough milk to soak it a little while and then use that on top of your bread. The milk will soak in as they bake and make them soft like with the bechamel (add a little nutmeg too)

EAT! said...

These sandwiches look so much fun to make and eat!!

Tracy said...

Yum, they look delicious.