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CLINTON KELLY Croque Monsieur

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3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup spring onions (thinly sliced)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk (heated)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
3 cups gruyere (grated, about 8 ounces, divided)
6 slices pullman loaf (1/2-inch thick, lightly toasted)
6 tablespoons dijon mustard
12 slices black forest ham
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
2 bunches watercress
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Preheat oven to broil.
Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and Spring onions and a pinch of salt, and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Add the hot milk, a little at a time, whisking constantly so there are no lumps. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat. Add the nutmeg, Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and 2 cups of the Gruyere. Stir to combine and melt the cheese. Set aside.
Place the lightly toasted bread on a baking sheet. Top each slice of bread with some Dijon mustard, 2 slices of ham, cheese sauce and the remaining 1 cup of Gruyere to cover. Broil until the cheese is lightly browned. Remove and set aside to cool slightly. Serve with watercress.
For the Watercress: in a medium bowl, add the red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, and whisk to combine.
In a large bowl, add the watercress and toss with the dressing to taste.
Helpful Tip:
– If cheese sauce is lumpy or too thick, add a couple more tablespoons of milk and continue whisking until smooth.
– If making for brunch, keep cheese sauce in a bowl set over a double boiler to keep warm.

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