Life has been a whirlwind lately. Work has had me constantly running around and I’ve been spending WAY too many hours behind the wheel of my car. It’s usually early in the morning when I first hit the ground running, at least 6am. On the bright side I always get to enjoy the sunrise while driving. It’s in these peaceful quiet moments when the sun peaks out from behind the morning clouds and sky turns pink that I lose myself in a daydream about a life France. I start thinking about the wandering through the French countryside, fields of lavender, small country cottages with blue doors, Paris, French markets and of course French Food.
The other morning after losing myself in a French daydream, I realized that I had a little extra time before my first Fundraiser assembly and I decided to check out some social media. I was looking through Twitter when I came across this recipe for Croque Madame Muffins by Rachel Khoo, the author of The Little Paris Kitchen. My mouth instantly started to water as I watched the YouTube video of her making these scrumptious little muffins. Croque Madame is basically a French version of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich (but so much better) with an egg on top and it just happens to be one of my FAVORITE things.
As soon as my Fundraiser assembly was over that morning I rushed to the nearest bookstore to go pick up a copy of The Little Paris Kitchen cookbook. I knew this was a cookbook I was going to have a relationship with and I had to have it in my collection. So for dinner tonight it’s Croque Madame Muffins with a simple green salad and I can’t wait! I mean really what’s better than crispy buttery bread, filled with salty ham, a rich creamy Gruyere cheese sauce all topped off with a slightly runny egg? Nothing…. Nothing is better than that.
Croque Madame Muffins
From The Little Paris Kitchen Cookbook by Rachel Khoo
The Mornay (cheese) Sauce:
1 Tablespoon of Butter
1 Tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
¾ Cup + 1 Tablespoons Milk, lukewarm
½ Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
½ Teaspoon Nutmeg
¼ Cup grated Gruyere Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
For the Muffin Cups:
6 large slices of white bread, crust removed
3 Tablespoons of Butter, melted
2½ oz. Ham, cut into cubes or thin strips
6 Small Eggs
To make the sauce:
Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add the flour and beat hard until you have a smooth paste. Take off the heat and leave to cool for 2 minutes, then gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. Place the pan back over a medium heat add the mustard and nutmeg and simmer gently for 10 minutes, whisking frequently to stop the sauce burning on the bottom of the pan. Once the sauce thickens and has the constancy of a thick tomato sauce take off the heat. As the cheese (keep a little for garnish) and taste for seasoning. If the sauce is too thick add a little more milk. If it’s lumpy, pass it through a sieve.
To assemble pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Flatten the slices of bread with a rolling pin, and then brush each slice on both sides with melted butter. Line a 6-cup muffin tin with the slices of bread pressing them in with the bottom of a small glass. Divide the ham between the muffin cups followed by the eggs (if the egg seems too big, pour a little of the white away before using). Put 2 tablespoons of cheese sauce on top of each egg, and then sprinkle with a little cheese and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending in how runny you like your eggs. Serve immediately.