French Bistro Sandwich, Meet Dundee Hills Rosé
For times when only comfort food will do, consider upping your grilled cheese game with a Croque Monsieur. This popular French bistro sandwich made its literary debut in 1818 in Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. This storied sandwich is still popular today, which is no surprise—the addition of a luxurious bèchamel sauce is what distinguishes it from an ordinary grilled cheese. Considered a mother sauce in French cuisine, béchamel serves as the base for souffléts, pastries, and creamy pasta sauces. Layered with Gruyère or Emmental cheese and ham, it’s dangerously delicious. Our 2022 Rosé of Pinot Noir works well with this dish because the refreshingly bright acidity in this wine cuts through the fat and cream with ease while its mineral and delicate fruit flavors work well with the ham.
IfFOR THE BÉCHAMEL SAUCE
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
FOR THE SANDWICH
8 slices country French or brioche bread
2 tablespoons stone ground mustard, approximately
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
6 ounces Gruyère or Emmental cheese, grated
8 slices black forest deli ham
4 poached eggs, if you’re really keen to make a Croque Madame
chives or fresh parsley to sprinkle over the top, if you’re feeling fancy
Preheat oven to 425°.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly, for three minutes, until a roux has formed. The mixture will thicken and bubble. Gradually add the milk and stir until it thickens, around 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then grate nutmeg over the top. Stir to incorporate, and set aside.
Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the slices of bread on the sheet. Spread the mustard on half of the slices of bread that will form the bottom of the sandwich. Spread a thin layer of bèchamel on the slices that will top each sandwich. Place two slices of ham on top of bread coated with mustard, and top with shredded gruyère.
Toast the sandwich halves until the gruyère has melted, around 5 minutes. Place the slices with the bèchamel on top of the halves with the cheese and ham, then spread another layer of bèchamel on the top of each sandwich and top with a layer of shredded parmesan and remaining Gruyère. Turn the heat up to a broil and toast until the cheese on the top is golden.
Plate the sandwhiches and garnish with chives or parsley, if desired. Serve with mini gherkins on the side.