Ben Campbell

the croque monsieur

When you have friends like ours, you tend to eat pretty well.  We love to partner with the best chefs in Seattle to bring an intimate teaching experience to field trippers. We are so grateful to have Ben Campbell of Ben's Breads on our team. His passion for sourdough and for teaching are unsurpassed, and his breads are sublime. He was kind enough to share his recipe for one of his favorite ways to use leftover bread, the croque monsieur. Ben's recipe is finely honed after making hundreds in years past at Seattle's beloved Café Presse ... merci beaucoup Ben!

Croque Monsieur    makes 4 large sandwiches

  • 8 slices bread
  • ½ C Dijon mustard
  • 16 thin slices deli ham
  • 16 slices gruyere
  • 1 batch béchamel* (recipe below) *good idea to make in advance so the sauce has a chance to chill and is easier to spread, refrigerates and freezes well.

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees (if making right away).

Slice loaf of bread lengthwise into 8 slices, squaring off smaller ends for breadcrumbs, croutons, or a light snack. Make 4 stacks of two slices of bread. On top of each stack, spread a generous amount of Dijon mustard, arrange two slices of gruyere, and then evenly arrange 4 slices of ham, building as much height as possible. Place the bottom slice of bread on top of the stack of meats and cheeses. Thickly coat each sandwich with the thick béchamel on the tops and sides. Arrange the rest of the cheese slices on top of each sandwich, ensuring that no crust is showing. If using later, wrap all the sandwiches on a small tray or plate and place in refrigeration for use within the next 2 days. If making immediately, arrange sandwiches on sheet tray and bake for 10-15 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown in places. Devour immediately.

Béchamel sauce

  • 1 qt milk
  • 3 T butter
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter until foaming. Add flour, stirring until combined. Cook on medium, constantly stirring, until a pale, sandy mixture is formed (1 - 2 minutes).  Add milk carefully, stirring constantly with whisk until incorporated.  Add bay leaf and cayenne and bring to a simmer.  Cook until sauce is thick (approximately 10 minutes).  Season to taste.  Transfer to shallow container and refrigerate until use.  Once chilled, the béchamel will be thick and spreadable.

bon appétit!