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…
Adapted from Ricardo volume 6 number 3
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
4 slices capicolo
4 slices of sourdough bread (approximately the same length as the asparagus)
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.