Experience a trip down memory lane with Elisa Marshall and Benjamin Sormonte, the culinary masterminds behind Maman, North American’s beloved café, bakery, and restaurant. In their latest cookbook, they’ve blended childhood favorites with inspiration from the South of France to create a delightful fusion that will tantalise your tastebuds.
One of the standout dishes in this treasure trove of recipes is the Croque Maman, based on the timeless French dish, Croque Monsieur. This classic French dish, with its perfect harmony of ham, cheese, and toasted bread, is more than just a recipe—it’s a journey through heartwarming memories. Whether it’s a cosy brunch, a delightful snack or a light dinner, Croque Maman captures the very essence of a mother’s love with its comforting layers.
- 1⅓ cups 315 ml whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup 36 g all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 slices brioche or challah
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 slices Parisian ham jambon de Paris; see Tip or slow-cooked deli ham
- ⅔ cup 80 g grated Comté or Gruyère cheese
- Warm milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot but not simmering.
- Melt butter in a separate small saucepan over low heat.
- Add flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the butter mixture is bubbling but hasn’t started to brown, about 2 minutes.
- Slowly add the hot milk to the butter and flour, whisking constantly, until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in nutmeg, pepper, and salt.
- Set a rack 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) from the oven’s heat source and turn the grill up to high.
- Toast bread in a toaster or oven until very light brown.
- Transfer bread to a sheet pan.
- Brush a thin layer of mustard on 2 slices.
- Top each with a slice of ham.
- Sprinkle most of the Comté over the ham.
- Spread a thin layer of béchamel on the other 2 slices of bread and arrange them on top of the Comté to close the sandwiches.
- Spread the remaining béchamel sauce generously on top of the sandwiches and sprinkle the remaining Comté on top.
- Grill for 2 to 4 minutes, rotating the sheet pan as needed for even toasting, until the topping is melted, bubbling, and lightly browned.
- Serve hot.
- Tip: Not all hams are created equal, so it’s best to head to the butcher to get the good stuff. Parisian ham, or jambon de Paris, is slow-cooked rather than smoked, which makes for juicier, more flavourful meat, perfect for bistro-style classics like this Croque-Maman or Quiche Lorraine.
Excerpted from Maman: The Cookbook by Elisa Marshall and Benjamin Sormonte. © 2021 Elisa Marshall and Benjamin Sormonte. Photography © 2021 Linda Xiao. Published by Penguin Canada.