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Dinner tonight! Croque-madame

December 13, 2012|By Noelle Carter
  • Croque-madame.
Croque-madame. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles…)

La Dijonaise's take on this classic French comfort food sandwich is rich béchamel sauce and ham between two slices of pullman bread, topped with cheese that's melted to gooey perfection. On top of that goes a fried egg (this is what distinguishes the "madame" from the "monsieur"). Yes, it's unapologetic goodness on a plate.

For more quick-fix dinner ideas, check out our video recipe gallery here. Food editor Russ Parsons and Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter show you how to fix a dozen dishes in an hour or less.

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You can find Noelle Carter on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest. Email Noelle at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

Croque-madame

Total time: 45 minutes, plus cooling time for the béchamel

Servings: 6

Note: Adapted from La Dijonaise Café et Boulangerie in Culver City. The restaurant uses bread from a local bakery and recommends pullman-type bread for the sandwiches.

Béchamel sauce

2 cups milk

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons flour

Salt and pepper

Pinch nutmeg

1. In a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge. Reduce the heat and keep the milk warm over very low heat.

2. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. When it bubbles, whisk in the flour and continue to cook until the mixture forms a golden roux, 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Whisking constantly, add the warm milk in a steady stream. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with one-half teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper, along with the nutmeg, or to taste. Remove from heat and set aside until cooled. This makes about 2 cups sauce.

Sandwich assembly

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

12 slices sandwich bread

12 slices ham

Prepared béchamel sauce

6 slices Swiss cheese, diced

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Salt and pepper

6 eggs, fried sunny-side up

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Butter 6 slices of bread. Top each slice of bread with 2 slices of ham, then divide the béchamel sauce evenly between the sandwiches, spreading it over the ham. Top each of the sandwiches with a second slice of bread.

3. In a small bowl, toss together the diced Swiss cheese and the mozzarella. Season the mixture with one-fourth teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper, or to taste.

4. Divide the cheese mixture evenly between the sandwiches, mounding it on top of each sandwich.

5. Place the sandwiches on a baking sheet and bake until the cheese is melted, 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the oven. This may need to be done in more than one batch.

6. Top each sandwich with a fried egg and serve immediately.

Each sandwich: 699 calories; 38 grams protein; 40 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 43 grams fat; 23 grams saturated fat; 334 mg. cholesterol; 8 grams sugar; 1,660 mg. sodium.

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