Browsing along the shelves at Wentworth Falls Library I stumbled across a cookbook that I immediately fell in love with. I borrowed the book, tried out some of the recipes and then had to buy it for my own collection. The book is “In the Charcuterie” by Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller (the husband and wife team from the Fatted Calf in San Francisco).
The book is really approachable, all the recipes are achievable, and, it gives you loads of information on how to do stuff like boning, brining, pickling, what you should have in your pantry, salting… The photography is also really beautiful – I could almost imagine having it as a coffee table book, except I have a lot of friends who are vegetarian, so maybe not.
This is their recipe for Croque Monsieur – serves 4
For the Mornay Sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons plain flour
1 Cup full fat milk
1 Cup grated Comte or Gruyere cheese
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cayenne pepper
Fine sea salt
8 Slices pain de mie or other good quality sandwich bread
2 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter
450 gm boneless ham, sliced thinly
1/2 cup whole grained mustard
1. To make the sauce, in a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until combined and then cook and whisk for one minute.
2. Slowly whisk in the milk, turn down the heat to low, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, until smooth and thick. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes more, allowing the sauce to further thicken, then remove from the heat and stir in the cheeses, nutmeg and cayenne until the cheeses melt. Season with salt.
3. Preheat the oven to 230 degrees celcius. Lay the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush the slices with the melted butter, then flip them over, buttered side down.Spread the second side of the slice with the mustard. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the Mornay sauce on top of each of the four slices. Top the remaining four slices with the ham, followed by 1 tablespoon of the Mornay.
4. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and brown and the bottom of each bread slice is crisp and golden. Remove from the oven and marry each of the ham topped slices with a Mornay topped slice. Serve immediately.