Saturday, June 24, 2006

Croque Monsieur with Greens

From Rachael Ray: 365 No Repeats

4 Tbsp softened unsalted butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 C half-and-half or whole milk
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp freshly grated or ground nutmeg
salt and fresh ground black pepper
8 slices sandwich bread
3/4 pound baked ham, thinly sliced
2 C shredded Gruyere cheese
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp apricot jam or orange marmalade
2 Tbsp fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
6 C mixed baby greens, any variety

Heat a heavy nonstick pan or a griddle over medium-low to medium heat.

Heat a small sauce pot over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and melt. Whisk the flour into the butter and cook 1 minute, then whisk in the half-and-half. Season with 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, the nutmeg, salt, and pepper and cook 2 minutes to thicken. Remove from the heat. Spread the bread slices with the sauce and make sandwiches, using a couple of folded slices of ham per sandwich.

Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of softened butter lightly across the outside faces of each sandwich. Spread the shredded cheese across a plate and gently press each side of the sandwiches into the cheese, then place on the hot pan or griddle. The cheese will brown and form a crisp coating as the sandwich cooks and heats through. Cook 3 minutes on each side, or until evenly golden.

In a salad bowl, whisk together the remaining teaspoon of mustard, the vinegar, apricot jam, and tarragon. Whisk in the EVOO in a slow stream. Add the greens to the bowl and toss to dress. Season the salad with salt and pepper and serve on large plates with the hot sandwiches alongside.

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