To call this the French version of toasted ham and cheese is doing it a disservice. If you've never had one, it's toasted bread, spread with Dijon mustard, a little sliced ham, Gruyere cheese, topped with another slice of lightly toasted bread. Then a white sauce with Parmesan and more Gruyere is slathered over the top, then more Gruyere, and the whole thing is baked and then broiled. I don't want to know the calorie count or fat content.
I had one at Brouers' in Seattle, and it was an eye-opening experience. Since that time, I've been looking for a recipe, unsuccessfully. One day, I was channel surfing, and landed on the Barefoot Contessa, and lo and behold, she was making Croque Monsieur!
I've never tried any of her recipes, so I wasn't sure how it would turn out. Last night I gave it a shot, and made it with Cream of Tomato soup. I didn't want to just make grilled cheese, I wanted to celebrate the fact that the stitches came out and I could use my thumb again. I like to celebrate by cooking.
Anyway, I have to say, it was incredible! I just wish I hadn't run out of bread. It really put the soup to shame. I think I need to serve it with something more sophisticated than tomato soup; maybe a potato leek? Vichyssoise?
Doh! I gave myself away. I didn't do Meatless Monday last night. I really wanted to celebrate and make Croque Monsieur. Well, it was low-meat, at least.