These days the LAM and I rarely watch anything on TV. When we have finally managed to get Aden and JL to fall asleep, we are usually too worried that sounds from the TV would wake them up again, so the TV is never turned on, and we read on our iPads instead.
A few weeks ago, I did catch part of an episode of Rachel Khoo's Little Paris Kitchen. She happened to be making croque madame and I was fascinated at how easy it was. It got me excited because here is another recipe I can add to my collection of easy-peasy Sunday brekkie recipes!
So for breakfast that Sunday, I tried my hand at making these delicious muffins.
I started by making the sauce. In a saucepan, I melted the butter. Into this I added the flour and whisked to form a smooth paste.
The saucepan was taken off the heat for about 2 minutes to cool, then I gradually added the milk, whisking constantly. I also added the mustard and nutmeg and returned the saucepan to the heat. This was cooked over medium heat for about 10 minutes so that the sauce would thicken.
The heat was turned off and I added the cheese to the sauce and stirred until it had dissolved. Should the sauce be too thick, add a little milk.
I trimmed the crust of the bread, then using a rolling pin, I slightly flattened each slice before brushing both sides with melted butter.
I lined a muffin tin with the bread and placed the ham on the bread.
Onto the ham, I added an egg yolk and a little of the whites that I had whisked. The eggs were topped with the sauce.
I added more cheese and coarsely grounded black pepper and baked the muffins for about 12-20 minutes, depending on how runny you like your eggs.
The muffins should be served immediately, while they are piping hot!
Croque Madame (Serves 6)
Adapted from "The Little Paris Kitchen" by Rachel Khoo
For the cheese sauce
15g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon plain flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon lukewarm milk, preferably whole, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup grated Gruyère or mature Comté cheese (or a strong hard cheese like Parmesan or mature Cheddar), plus more for sprinkling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the muffins
6 slices white bread, crusts removed
45g unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the tin
80g ham, cut into cubes or thin strips
6 small eggs
Make the cheese sauce
1. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir vigorously until a smooth paste forms. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for 2 minutes.
2. Whisking constantly, slowly and gradually add the milk to the flour and butter and cook, continuing to whisk constantly, until the sauce is smooth. Place the pan back over medium heat, add the mustard and nutmeg, and simmer gently, whisking frequently to prevent the sauce from burning. Once the sauce thickens and has the consistency of a thick tomato sauce, which ought to happen after about 10 minutes, take it off the heat. Add the cheese, whisk until it melts, and season with salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more milk; if the sauce is lumpy, pass it through a sieve.
Assemble the muffins
3. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Butter a 6-cup jumbo muffin tin or 6 ramekins.
4. Flatten the bread slices with a rolling pin, then brush each slice on both sides with the melted butter. Line the tin with the bread, pressing a slice in each cup and tamping it down with the bottom of a narrow glass, a skinny jar, a vitamin bottle, or whatever you can find that fits.
5. Divide the ham among the muffin cups. Crack 1 egg at a time into a small dish, allowing the white to go into the dish and cupping the yolk in the shell. Gently place the yolk in a bread-lined muffin cup and then repeat with the remaining eggs. Gently whisk the whites and then pour a little of the whites into each muffin cup, not quite filling them completely. (You may have some whites left over.) Spoon about 2 tablespoons cheese sauce on top of each egg, then sprinkle with some reserved grated cheese and pepper.
6. Bake for 12 to 20 minutes, depending on how runny you like your eggs. Serve immediately.
I am submitting this recipe for Cook-Your-Books hosted by