After watching the fabulous Rachel Khoo again on Sunday mornings, I wanted to give her take on the Croque Madame a go for a Saturday lunch. An alternative to eggs on toast, she adapts the ingredients for a classic Croque Madame and turns them into a crispy, béchamel/mornay stuffed treat, perfect for all the family.
I can’t compete with the beautiful photography and wonderful writing of this little gem of a blog from ‘Eat, Little Bird’, but this is where I found the recipe. It’s a simple combination and you can really add whatever you’d like. Since it was also for my toddler, I left salt and cheese out from the béchamel as there was to be cheese on top.
milk, flour, butter, grated nutmeg and Dijon mustard for the béchamel.
ham/bacon, small eggs & cheese for the filling
sliced white bread and melted butter for the cases.
Cut the crusts from the bread (I shoved these in the coffee grinder to make breadcrumbs for the freezer!) then butter both sides. I melted the butter first but don’t think this really matters as it will melt in the oven anyway!
Next, push each slice into a muffin or dariole mould (1), place some torn ham or cooked bacon pieces in the bottom of each (2) and tip a small egg on top (3). If the egg is too big (I used the small ones my chickens have just begun laying again this week) tip a little of the white out into a freezer bag and freeze to use for meringue at a later date.
Make a quick béchamel: Pop a tablespoon of butter into a hot pan and quickly whisk in some plain flour until the mixture begins to form a ball. Slowly, tip some milk in and whisk quickly over a high heat. Pour a little in at a time and continue adding until you have a thick, cream sauce. Add the mustard and nutmeg. You can add grated cheese here too. Pour on top of the egg (4).
Grate a little cheese on top, sprinkle with pepper (5) and place in the oven at 180 oC for 12-15 minutes if you like the yolks runny, and 15-20 minutes if you prefer them more cooked.
The whole process is a little phaffy (especially when compared to poached eggs and ham on toast!) but the end result was lovely: A nice crispy shell, helped, I think, by the fact I used metal cases rather than silicone; and melted insides. I’d add more béchamel next time and reduce the cooking time so the yolk was runny as mine needed a little more moisture as they were quite dry. I’d also add some chopped parsley and maybe some chives for a little more flavour. If you used a smoked bacon, that would be really delicious! I’d do this again as the ingredients are those usually found in the fridge and cupboards, but probably only if I had some leftover béchamel from a lasagne or similar to reduce phaffiness!