Egg on toast? Why would we shlep all the way over to your supposedly "exciting" blog to read about boring old egg on toast? Yes, I can hear your thoughts, readers. I know what you're thinking, and I have to tell you to back off because what you see here is better than any old egg, on any old toast. Behold, the croque madame. A little bit more fancy than a croque monsieur, a little less fancy than french toast and a little bit more tasty than a ham and cheese sandwich.
You have to use great, chewy sourdough bread, you snuggle in a little ham and a little cheese. Dollop a knob of butter into a hot pan and lay the slice of bread, strewn with ham and cheese, into the pan and fry it until the underside is golden toasted. Hide it in the oven for a few minutes so the cheese is drippy and hot, all the while whisking up an easy, creamy bechamel sauce. Fry a fresh egg in a hot hot pan so the edges crisp up into a lacey skirt. Toast another slice of bread, sandwich the bread on top of the ham and the cheese, spoon over the warm bechamel, top with cheese and then its back into the oven before being crowned with a glowing, quick-fried, runny egg. Can you think of anything better for breakfast on a Sunday morning?
I may not know a lot of things, but I do know that this is the best hangover cure out there. Drink a super cold glass of Milo alongside it and you will feel right as rain, and pretty pleased with yourself too.
I have no idea where this recipe came from, I had it in Paris when I was there last and kind of made it up from what I could remember.
2 slices of country-style sourdough bread
2 slices of country-style ham
cheddar cheese - grated (about 3 tablespoons to taste)
1 fresh egg
for bechamel sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons plain flour
3/4 cup milk
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Lay the ham on top of one of the slices of bread and sprinkle with a little grated cheddar cheese. Melt butter in a pan over high heat, and fry the bread with the ham and cheese on it, without turning, until the underside is golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Remove from the pan and place on a small baking tray or roasting pan, cheese side up, and bake in the oven until the cheese is bubbling and melted. Toast the other slice of bread in the toaster.
Meanwhile, to make the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan. When melted, whisk in the flour until a roux forms (a roux is what the mixture is called when the melted butter and flour are smooth and combined, it will be rather thick, this is good). Gradually add the milk to the roux, whisking all the while, until the sauce thickens into a smooth sauce, it should coat the back of a spoon. Season to taste, and add a pinch of cheddar cheese to it for more flavour. Remove from the heat and cover the surface directly with cling wrap so a skin doesn't form.
When the cheese has melted on the bread in the oven, remove from the oven and top with the other piece of bread. Spoon the bechamel sauce over the top of the sandwich, and top with grated cheddar cheese. Put back in the oven until the cheese has melted and browned.
Meanwhile, fry an egg in a hot pan until cooked to your liking, (I like it runny). When the cheese has melted on the sandwich, remove from the oven, top with the fried egg, and serve immediately.