The Croque Monsieur is a baked or fried boiled ham and cheese sandwich, made out of soft fluffy Pain de Mie. The dish originated in French cafés and bars as a quick snack.
Today I share 15 different ways of having Croque Monsieur, perfect for lunch! Some of these will be rather local varieties and may thus not be known everywhere in France or Belgium, but they are definitely worth the try if you happen to be in need of a delicious quick lunch.
Croque Monsieur – there are 2 ways of making this classic crunchy fried toast. Either you take 2 slices of bread and fill this up with a slice of cheese, slice of ham and another slice of cheese, which you grill in a toaster. Alternatively, you can put a little more effort in and grill 1 slice of bread slightly. Then you add ham and a slice of cheese which you grill in the oven. For an extra kick, add on some paprika powder on top or put some raw sliced onion between the ham and cheese for extra crunch! Some locations also dictate that there is a layer of Béchamel added on for extra creaminess.
Croque Madame – make a Croque Monsieur, but add an egg fried sunny side up on top. In some parts of France, this is also called a Croque a Cheval.
A Croque Mademoiselle is a Croque Monsieur without the ham, but served with a nice crunchy salad of onions, cucumber and lettuce.
A Croque Tomate or Croque Provencal is a Croque Monsieur with added slices of tomato.
For those of us that like their Croque a little sweeter, they can add a slice of pineapple with their Croque. Frying the Croque Hawaien will really get the flavour of the pineapple out. For medium sweetness, serve the pineapple with the Croque Monsieur after it is fried, on top.
Croque Saumon or Croque Norvégien is a vegetarian version which exchanges the ham for smoked salmon. Can also be prepared with a creamy herb cheese added in.
Croque Bolognese is another variation, which consists of a Croque Monsieur served with Bolognese sauce. If you want to spice it up, add on some tabasco.
More internationally now, Croque Gagnet exchanges the ham for Andouille sausage with Gouda cheese. If you order a Croque Tartiflette, you will be served a Croque Monsieur with potatoes and Reblochon Cheese.
A Croque Mediterranee is also based on the classic Croque Monsieur but consists out of prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes and rucola. Grate over some parmesan cheese and rub olive oil over the top of the sandwich before grilling.
A Croque Vegetarien will clearly not consist of ham and cheese, but will use only herb cheese between the bread. Alternatively leave the prosciutto ham out of the Croque Mediterranee.
If you fancy chicken instead of ham, then this one may be the Croque for you: Croque Poulet made out of chicken, cheese, tomato and garlic butter.
Take the now familiar Croque Poulet, remove the cheese, tomato and garlic butter and replace this with a yummy green pesto, and pronto! Croque Sicilien is served.
The last two varieties are Croques for those who like Gorgonzola and Goats cheese: Croque Fromage bleu or Croque Gorgonzola will serve you crispy sandwiches filled with Gorgonzola and pear, while a Croque Fromage Chèvre will let you enjoy a crispy croque with goats cheese and asparagus or pear.
Which ones have you tried? What is your favourite? Have you created any yourself?