mr. & mrs. croque

when one of my favourite hotels closed down, some of the things i considered buying in the liquidation sales were the pain de mie/pullman loaf pans from the kitchen. i just think they're cool looking. i ended up not buying any, and i've regretted it ever since, but i balk at paying the price for new ones. the other day, i went to the local restaurant supply shop, and found these cheapy cheap deep loaf pans that mimicked the pain de mie pans perfectly--all i would need to do is cover them with a cookie sheet during baking so i'd get the hallmark square shape of a pullman loaf. so that is what i did.

pain de mie

i found a recipe for pain de mie in the richard bertinet book, which included another recipe for what you can do with the bread: croque monsieur, which bertinet describes as a childhood staple in france, and is basically (but gloriously) a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. bertinet's version has thick slices of the pain de mie sandwiching a layer of béchamel, and slices of country ham; the top of the sandwich is then slathered with a thick layer of the béchamel, and a mountain of shredded gruyère cheese is layered on that. the whole sandwich is placed in a preheated 200˚C/392˚F (or thereabouts) oven until the cheese is melty golden brown.

whatta croque 1

i also tried out a recipe for croque madame i found in nancy silveron's sandwich book that i've wanted to try since i saw meg's version a zillion blogyears ago. this version is decidedly more refined, with thinner slices of bread, smoked ham, and slices of cheese instead of the lactose mountain; also, it is grilled rather than baked/broiled. why is it madame to the hearty, brutish monsieur? the egg, of course. sheeeeeeeeeeeesh.

a bit french, in that they were a little difficult to eat--runny sauce versus runny egg yolk, chunks of oversized squishy bread or grilled planks that exploded into a shower of crumbs with every bite. but both were a delightfully sensual experience-- warm, creamy, salty, buttery, cheesy...hammy. like brangelina, only with 30% less cheese. a happy pair together. that is, until i ate them.



croque monsieur is in every corner in france....
the swiss have something similar called kaseschitten.

the swiss has wine and eggs...

whew i might be back in France in few months time.

hi santos, you are a woman after my own heart; i've secretly harboured an urge to do 'his' and 'hers' sandwiches with the monsieur and madame in mind ;) the bouchon book also has a fantastic recipe for madame (using a sauce mornay). the nancy silverton sandwich title is awesome - i always turn to it for lunch ideas when faced with leftover roast meat!

Nakakagutom naman =D

Santos, you paragon of polymorphic perversity you.

Restaurant supply shopes are great, no excuse for not having half a dozen stainless steel bowls but I'm running out of excuses for all these tiny tins and dariole moulds I keep buying.

oooooh - I actually have a Pullman pan - that's what happens to you when your friends keep buying birthday presents for you that will fit into the room of the apartment you're in the most (well, kitchen, duh!) I usually use it for my rye bread, gotta try a pain de mie...

Oh I love Croque Monsieurs. And his wife too! Now you are really making me miss this little gourmet deli near my old house which made the most divine croque monsieurs. Sigh.

thanks for the link, sha! wine and eggs, mmmmmmm.

ah, i love the his and hers sarnies in the nancy silverton book, j. i really need to explore that slim volume more. and plunk down the dosh for bouchon. eventually.

ana, it was gooooooooood :D

'polymorphic perversity'?? i went to school there. you could be the hit of the next sandcastle competition with all those leetle moulds and teeny tins. or make a suit of armour.

ah, zarah, you make me green bananas with envy. such nice friends you have!

mm--you lucky thing! someone will make these for you, whenever you want? that is truly a luxury.

ooh yum. i love croque monsieurs. i've wondered too why the madame is the heartier one with the edition of an egg. both look delicious though.

Why must you do this to me while I am at work? Now I am going to have to take what could have been a lazy evening and turn it into one of running around, buying the ingredients for this since I must have it now.