Up late watching the Tour de France? Whip up this tasty French midnight snack.

Up late watching the Tour de France? Whip up this tasty French midnight snack.

Staying up well into the night watching the Tour de France requires some serious sustenance. Make it to the finish line with a classic French snack, the croque madame. It's so TASTY!

Essentially a posh ham and cheese toastie, the croque monsieur first appeared on the menu of a small Parisienne café back in 1910. The word croque is based on the French verb croquer, which means ‘to crunch’. What sets a croque madame apart is the pimped-up addition of a fried egg on top, said to resemble a woman’s hat.

Here is our quick and tasty recipe for the ultimate late-night snack. Dig in!

Croque madame

Makes 2

  • 4 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 1 cup full-cream milk
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup grated cheese, such as cheddar or tasty
  • 4 slices of bread – crusty sourdough is best, but that thick-sliced fluffy white bread will also do the trick
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2-4 slices good-quality ham
  • 2 eggs

Preheat your grill to medium heat. To make the béchamel sauce, melt half the butter in a small saucepan over high heat. Whisk in flour until smooth and lightly golden, then add milk and salt and whisk until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the nutmeg and half the cheese.

Line a baking tray with baking paper and place your slices of bread on top. Divide the Dijon between two slices of bread and top with ham, then top with half the béchamel sauce (set the remaining half aside) and the remaining cheese. Sandwich with the remaining bread.

Heat the remaining butter in a large frypan over medium heat. Add sandwiches and cook on both sides for 1-2 minutes until golden and the cheese has melted.

Place the sandwiches back on the baking tray and spread with remaining béchamel sauce. Cook under the grill until golden and bubbling. In the meantime, fry the two eggs sunny-side up to your liking, then place on top of the cooked sandwiches. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Voila!

If the béchamel all seems like too much hard work at 1.30 in the morning, then simply slap sliced cheese and ham in your sandwich, toast and top with the fried egg. Or leave the egg off altogether. Don’t worry, we won’t judge.

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