This recipe is from culture's feature of the now-closed Colette Grand Cafe. While the restaurant may no longer be operating, chef Jennifer Dewasha is still cooking, and this Croque monsieur is still delicious!Recipe Tip: Use a mild ham for this recipe— aged or heavily smoked versions will overpower the other flavors.
- 1/2 white onion cut lengthwise, with root end intact
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 whole cloves
- 1.5 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour Pinch ground nutmeg
- Kosher salt to taste
- Ground white pepper to taste
- 8 1-inch slices brioche
- 4 cups grated Gruyère
- 8 slices Parisian-style ham
- Heat oven to 350°F. Cut a small slit in outer onion layers and slide bay leaf into opening. Stud onion with cloves.
- Cook onion and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. When milk is close to simmering, turn off heat and cover saucepan. Steep 20 minutes.
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; do not let it brown. Add flour and cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove onion from milk mixture and discard. Slowly whisk milk into roux. The the mixture will thicken as it warms. Season with nutmeg, salt, and white pepper. Whisk and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. The sauce should have body, but no lumps. If there are lumps, strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Cool sauce 5 minutes.
- Place 4 slices brioche on a rimmed baking sheet. Generously cover each slice with sauce, making sure to cover all the way to edges of bread. Top each sauce-covered slice with 1⁄2 cup grated Gruyère and 2 slices ham. Place remaining bread slices on sandwiches. Cover top slices with sauce, making sure to cover all the way to edges. Top each sandwich with another 1⁄2 cup gratedGruyère.
- Bake sandwiches 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted and insides are warmed through.
- Turn broiler to high. Broil sandwiches 1 to 2 minutes, or until tops are brown and bubbling.