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Happy National Egg Month
One of two months designated as National Egg Month – January Shares the Egg Spotlight with May

 Fun Facts About Eggs

  • Egg protein has just the right mix of essential amino acids needed by humans to build tissues. It is second only to mother’s milk for human nutrition.
  • Only 70 calories per egg
  • It takes 24-26 hours to produce an egg
  • The older a hen the larger the egg

Here is a fun old school recipe using the egg to elevate a ham and cheese sandwich.

Croque Madame

The most popular sandwich in America is the ham and cheese and a classic French recipe takes this sandwich to new heights.

Creamy béchamel sauce, thin sliced ham, flavorful rich nutty gruyere broiled to bubbly perfection then topped with a delicious runny sunny side up egg.

Béchamel sauce – also known as white sauce – is made from a white roux (butter and flour) and milk. It is one of the mother sauces of French Cuisine and is used as the base for other sauces like Mornay sauce which is Béchamel sauce with cheese added and is very common when making mac and cheese.  It adds great character to this wonderful sandwich.

For the Béchamel sauce:

  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1 Pinch of Ground Nutmeg

For the Sandwich:

  • 4 Slices Hearty White Sandwich Bread (I Love Sourdough)
  • 4 Ounces Thin Sliced Ham
  • 4 Ounces Grated Gruyere Cheese + ¼ cup set aside
  • 2 Tablespoons Softened Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Teaspoons Chopped Fresh Chives, Parsley, or Thyme
  • 2 Whole Eggs
  1. Make the Béchamel. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour and stir 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in milk.  Add nutmeg.  Increase heat and boil until sauce thickens, whisking constantly.  Season with Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
  2. Put large non-stick fry pan over medium heat. Butter one side of each piece of bread and stack the buttered sides together.  Spread Dijon on top slice of bread and divide ham and 4 ounces gruyere between two pieces of bread.  Place buttered side in heated pan and top with second piece of bread butter side up.   When bottom slice is golden flip and cook the second side to golden.
  3. Set oven to Broil.  Remove sandwich from skillet to baking sheet. Spoon sauce and remaining grated cheese over sandwiches.  Broil until cheese begins to brown.
    Broiled Ham & Cheese Sandwich

    Broiled Ham & Cheese Sandwich

  4. Meanwhile crack two eggs in a non-stick pan.  Cook until the whites begin to set then cover with another pan until whites are set.  Remove sandwiches from oven and top with egg.  Season with salt and pepper and fresh herbs.

Serve with an arugula salad with a simple lemon vinaigrette.  You will never look at a grilled cheese the same after this.

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