First things first… Kate of Warm Olives and Cool Cocktails was up to select the first May recipe for the Barefoot Bloggers. She chose Ina Garten’s Tuna Salad. Now, I’ve already made the Tuna Salad in the past. The boyfriend loved it. I was so-so about it mostly due to the textures of the tuna and avocado together but flavor wise it was fine. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do about making the required recipe until I saw a post about a new feature called “Barefoot Backtracking” where every once in a while you have the opportunity to switch out the required recipe for one of the ones you missed in the past. Woo hoo!
I haven’t actually missed that many BB recipes since joining the group – only four: the Butterflied Chicken, Real Meatballs and Spaghetti, Meringues Chantilly and Croque Monsieur. I knew without a doubt that the Croque Monsieur was what I was making for the backtrack. I got too busy at the end of April to get that recipe completed and I saw the posting due date come and go in a flash. Even still, this French version of a hot ham and cheese sandwich stuck in my mind and tortured me as I read through my Google Reader.
Now, this isn’t the most photogenic thing out there but let me assure you that looks aren’t everything!
These were delicious. Crunchy toasty bread, mustard, tons of melted cheese, Black Forest ham and a peppery Cheese sauce…. MMMMMMM!!! I made them for an afternoon lunch on Mother’s Day and we really enjoyed them. The recipe called for Gruyère cheese which my little local store wasn’t carrying last week. I just used a regular $3.00 block of Swiss instead with no complaints. For the mustard I tried both a whole grain dijon as well as a spicy brown mustard. The ones with the spicy brown mustard tasted a little better. I would make these over and over again but next time would double or triple the amount of ham. One little piece of ham just didn’t seem to be enough on a sandwich smothered with all this cheese!
The Fabulous Ina Garten’s Croque Monsieur
Book: Barefoot in Paris
Show: Barefoot Contessa Episode: Working Girl
Rated 5/5 stars based on 68 foodnetwork.com reviews
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups) (I used Swiss cheese)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
Dijon mustard (I used whole grain dijon and spicy brown mustard)
8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin (I used Black Forest ham)
Click here for directions
Next time for Barefoot Bloggers it’s Ina’s Outrageous Brownies. Can you believe I’ve never made these before?? I’m looking forward to trying them out, I know many people use this recipe as their one and only brownie recipe.