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Ham and Cheese Crunches Croque-Monsieur

The cafés and bistros in Paris are busy at lunchtime with large numbers of local diners and tourists. Smart Parisians know the right places to find appealing sandwiches. First served in 1910 at a Parisian café, this version of a ham and cheese sandwich is still popular today. The name croque-monsieur literally means "crunch-sir." Try this popular version of a bistro recipe and you will say, "Vive la France."

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 8 slices thin sandwich bread
  • 4 slices smoked or boiled ham (1 ounce each)
  • 4 ounces Gruyère or Swiss cheese
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

On Your Mark, Get Set...

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Cut away the crusts of the bread with a sharp knife. Discard the crusts. Lay 4 of the slices on a small baking sheet.
  • Cut the ham so it neatly fits the slices of bread, with none extending over the sides. You will probably have more than one layer of ham, but that is okay.
  • Grate the Gruyère or Swiss cheese into a small bowl. Add the milk and combine with the cheese.
  • Spoon one-quarter of the cheese mixture on top of the ham on one sandwich, and cover with a slice of bread.
  • With a pastry brush, butter the top slice. Carefully turn the sandwich over and butter the bottom slice.
  • Repeat these steps to assemble the other 3 crunches.

Cook!

  • Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the sandwiches for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the bread just begins to brown.
  • Turn the oven to broil. Brown the sandwiches under the broiler for 1 minute on each side. If necessary, reshape the sandwiches with a spatula after you turn them, tapping in the sides like a deck of cards. Be careful not to let them burn.
  • Lift the finished crunches off the baking sheet with a spatula to a serving dish. Let cool for a moment, cut into quarters, and serve hot.
 

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