I'm sure as you all know by now, breakfast is my favorite. I hate getting up early to make it, but something like this is well worth the 2 cups of coffee to get me going! Croque Monsieur (crunchy mister) is a classic French sandwich made easily with Dijon mustard, bread, ham, Gruyere cheese, and butter. There are many ways to make this dish but I wanted to stick with the easy and traditional way for breakfast. To make it more of a breakfast item and less of a lunch or dinner meal I left the sandwiches open and served them with fried eggs. This sandwich can be made elaborately with a bechamel sauce and Gruyere blend. I've also seen them with cheese over the bread to get nicely brown and crunchy. Traditional is usually best in my book, so I stuck with simple grated cheese. Please, no bechamel sauce-making at 7 am.
Now I didn't have any Dijon, so I made up a batch of spicy honey mustard last night. For that, which is quite simple, you only need a few household items that I'm sure are in your pantry. The trick with mustard is letting is sit out. If you mix up the water and ground mustard and stick a spoonful in your mouth it will knock you on your ass. It's serious business. I was perched over a mixing bowl with watery eyes and cleared nasal passages while I was whipping this up. Unfortunately I didn't have a week for it to sit out and mellow before transferring it to the fridge, so it sat out on the counter overnight and then mixed a spoonful of the spicy mustard with plain yellow French's mustard to mellow it out.
For the mustard, you will need:
- 4 tablespoons ground mustard (I had McCormick on hand)
- teeny pinch of cinnamon (optional)
- 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons water (or apple juice, or other juice)
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
In a small bowl combine the ground mustard, cinnamon, and water. Mix well and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Add in the vinegar, stir and leave out on the counter until desired flavor is achieved. You can leave this out for as long as you want until it's as mild as you need it to be. Once you jar it and put it in the fridge the flavor will be maintained and it will not get any more or less spicy.
For the Croque Monsieur sandwiches you will need:
- 2 tablespoons Dijon or spicy brown mustard
- 2 thick slices French bread or a roll cut in half, or some other thick bread
- baked ham (I used 4 slices of Canadian bacon because it's "breakfasty")
- 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter
Preheat your broiler to low. To assemble the sandwich traditionally you would spread the mustard on 1 slice of bread (you would need 2 slices of bread for one person). On the mustard side of the bread you would add the ham, the Gruyere cheese, and top with the other piece of bread. Then you butter the outside of the sandwich and heat under the broiler until hot, crispy, and golden brown. I did mine open-faced and just left off the additional bread. A good trick is buttering one side of the bread and brown it, then flip it over and butter the other side to brown. After both sides have been buttered and browned assemble your sandwich, this way the bread is crispy and buttery. I served the sandwiches alongside fried eggs and a spinach salad.