You might be wondering what dish could this be? How intricate? How involved? How labor-intensive?
Rest assured, I have yet to find the talent or patience to do anything remotely time-consuming.
The recipe: Croque-Monsieur.
I'd eaten a fabulous one at Mr. Boulud's restaurant, Bar Boulud. A ham and egg sandwich. How hard can that be? Well... this French sandwich involves béchamel, which in theory shouldn't be too difficult, (I make it frequently for The Kids' mac and cheese) though my mixture took over twenty minutes — double the time—to thicken.
Thankfully, the assembly took a quarter of that, and then it was into the oven for 15 minutes
and 1 minute under the broiler.
The Husband fried up eggs to convert the Monsieur into a Madame and we were all set!
The sandwich, if you haven't had the pleasure of eating one, is rich, filling, luscious and not! cholesterol friendly. You have the nutty saltiness of the gruyère juxtaposed with the creaminess of the béchamel, both set on the stage of subtly spiced pork and fantastic bread. For the bread, I used Balthazar's Pain au Levain (purchased at Eden Gourmet), which has a wonderful chew and sturdy texture, necessary to support the ham and grated gruyère. I couldn't find a Pullman loaf, which has four square corners.
Try to get French ham if you can. I used Jambon de Paris (also bought at Eden Gourmet), which is a wet-cured, mild and lightly-salted ham. If you can't, a boiled ham will do.