How to cook the perfect croque monsieur
Reported by: UNB Connect
Reported on: Jul 08, 2012 09:24 am
Reported in: Lifestyle
Guardian OnlineThe croque monsieur is a dish so iconically, ridiculously French that it's one of the first items of vocabulary that many aspiring linguists learn (trust the French to give the cheese and ham toastie a fancy name and pretend they invented it).Even Larousse Gastronomique, never shy of celebrating Gallic culinary achievement, admits the famous croque is nothing more than a "hot sandwich, made of 2 slices of buttered bread with the crusts removed, filled with thin slices of Gruyère cheese and a slice of lean ham."Let's be frank: it's not up there with tournedos rossini, or even a croquembouche: indeed, the croque creation myth suggests it's the fortuitous result of workmen leaving their cheese and ham sandwiches next to a hot radiator all morning, and then discovering they rather enjoyed the result. A eureka moment indeed. Larousse prefers to credit the sandwich to a cafe on the grand Boulevard des Capucines in Paris – but neglects to mention that it also features ever so briefly in the second volume of Proust's à la recherche de temps perdu, possibly because in common with many they never made it past the first chapter.That said, you can be sure that when the French tackle a dish they do so with enthusiasm, and it can't be denied that at its best a croque monsieur is a strong contender for the world's finest cheese and ham sandwich.The combination of nutty, stringy Gruyère, soft, salty jambon blanc and crisp, buttery bread can give any speck and Taleggio panino or cheddar and baked ham toastie a run for its money. Ignore the sad, limp imitations on sale at French petrol stations (I can't speak for this McDo version, however) and make your own instead: it's hardly complicated.
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