Grilled cheese and ham sandwich Frenchified: Croque Monsieur

Life is unfair in a lot of ways. For one, all cultures are not obsessed equally, especially the French. From accent to fashion to even their women (see Mireille Guiliano’s French Women Don’t Get Fat), even a simple grilled ham and cheese sandwich seems that much tastier and worthy of the hefty $16 when it’s called Croque Monsieur (pronounced crock ma-seur). 

Literally translated to “fried mister,” the rustic yet elegant snack is a staple for the French and sold in most cafe, bistro, brasserie and even as frozen food in France. The iconically French dish is nothing more than “a hot sandwich, made of 2 slices of buttered bread with crusts removed, filled with thin slices of Gruyère cheese and a slice of lean ham,” according to Larousse Gastronomique.

From Burette, la croque madame (image credit:

From Burette, la croque madame (image credit:\

A ham and cheese is a “Mr” (croque monsieur) and a ham and cheese topped with an egg is a “Madame” (croque madame). While the treat can be replicated at home, nothing beats a a visit to the 50-seat, French-inspired Buvette in West Village.

The overall rating of the French bistro is that it is cozy, charming and serves delicious little dishes. The major complaint is that you won’t get much for your money. Personally, I had no trouble with my croque madame and was more than satisfied but I admit, it’s on the pricier side.

But hey, there’s a lot to love about this eatery. Especially when my latte was served in a bowl.

Buvette: Pomodorini Tartines (image credit: Martha Stewart)

Here’s‘s take on the famous Mr.

  1. Spread the bread (8 slices) with some of the softened butter, make 4 sandwiches, each with one slice of ham and one slice of cheese. Press them firmly together.
  2. Beat the eggs with the water, add the salt and pepper to taste, and dip the sandwiches into the egg mixture, coating all sides well.
  3. Heat the rest of the butter in a heavy- bottomed frying pan/skillet, when it has melted and is very hot – but not brown, fry the sandwiches for about 5 – 8 minutes, turning once.
  4. Serve immediately.

Use quality bread, cheese and ham to ensure best flavor. Gruyère is a great cheese because it is firm, slightly elastic and carries a sweet, nutty flavor. Additionally, some recipe calls for dijon mustard and nutmeg to add additional kick.

42 Grove St, New York

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