Croque monsieur is essentially a toasted cheese and ham sandwich. Put a fried egg on top and you’ve got a croque madame (the egg is supposed to resemble a lady’s hat). What makes the difference between a toasted cheese and ham sandwich and a croque of any sort is the cheese—in a croque, it comes in the form of a creamy cheese sauce. And boy, does this make a difference! My version of croque madame uses the bread as a muffin cup to contain the delicious cheese sauce and egg. Great as a snack or with a green salad and fries as they serve the classic croque madame in French cafés.–Rachel Khoo
LC Croque Madame, Really? Note
Okay, it may be something of a stretch to equate these clever little egg muffins to a croque madame. A French classic these are not. But c’mon, they’ve got a certain je ne sais quoi. And they’re quite easy to polish off. Betcha can’t stop at just one.
Special Equipment: Jumbo muffin tin or 6 ramekins
Croque Madame Muffins Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 50 M
- Makes 6
- For the cheese sauce
- 1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose 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
- 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the tin
- 2 1/2 ounces 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 350°F (176°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 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how runny you like your eggs. Serve immediately.
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Croque Madame Muffins Recipe © 2013 Rachel Khoo. Photo © 2013 David Loftus. All rights reserved.
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