Sunday, November 16, 2008

Croque Madame

INGREDIENTS (for four people):

3 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, warm
3 tbsp. flour
2 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh black pepper
1/8 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated white cheddar cheese
8 slices sandwich bread
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
4 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 pound thinly sliced honey or maple turkey
4 large eggs

(Salad is optional, but did you know your main course contains fewer calories when accompanied by a small salad or side of greens? Well, it does. That's science. This recipe is *liberally* adapted from a March, 2007 offering in Gourmet magazine.)

1) To make the sauce, melt 3 tbsp. of the butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat, then whisk in the flour and cook roux until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Whisking constantly, slowly add milk and bring to a boil; continue to whisk occasionally at reduced heat for 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, and 1/2 a cup of cheese and whisk until cheese has melted into sauce.
2) Remove sauce from heat and cover directly with wax paper to prevent it forming a skin.
3) Spread 1 1/2 tbsp. of the sauce over 4 slices of bread, then sprinkle evenly with remaining cheese.
4) Spread mustard on other 4 bread slices, topping with the turkey. Combine both kinds of bread to form sandwiches.
5) Spread half the warm butter on the top of the sandwiches, adding half the garlic powder, thyme and oregano. Toast the sandwiches butter-side down in a warm skillet while spreading the remaining butter and spices on the other side. Flip and toast until golden on both sides, 3-4 minutes total.
6) Preheat the broiler. Spread remaining sauce on top of the sandwiches, coating evenly. Broil for 2-3 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and golden in spots.
7) Crack eggs into a heated skillet and season them with salt and pepper. Fry eggs, covered, until the whites are set but the yolks still runny, about 3 minutes. Top sandwiches with eggs, and serve with a light salad to reduce the calories in the sauce.
8) Open bottle of champagne and pour into flutes with 2 oz. orange juice. Enjoy together.

All right, all right, it isn't a beer. But you know something? We're a big fan of beverages in general, particularly effervescent beverages, and those belonging to the category our friend Mark terms "sauce." Mimosa is one hell of a tasty sauce, and since we were having brunch, after all, the usual beer evaluation was deferred for next time. (I should point out here that Gabe will readily tell you, if you ask him, that the ideal brunch pairing of all time is a draft glass of Leffe Brun and a plate of blueberry pancakes.)

We happened to be entertaining a Canadian diplomat when this brunch took place; there's Nicole Joy-Frasier (wife of Jeff Teerlink, if you follow Longview, Washington's Flemish exchange student culture) on the couch. She had a very successful week at the Native Theater Festival downtown at the Public, and here we feature her in slippies, sipping a hot and comforting beverage. The back of Lisa Hernandez's head is showcased to great advantage by her teal v-neck, as I smugly anticipate the moment when she realizes Gabe is about to swing onto her back from the chandelier.


Melinda said...

This one is making my mouth *water*!

Glory Laine said...

I loved seeing pictures of your apartment. Please do a post on your place. Or should I just leave Matt and the kids and come see it myself?