January 24, 2011

a quick french meal...

...or so I thought. I came across this post when I was "researching" for my post on Paris and knew that it was the perfect time of year to make vin chaud. What better way to deal with below freezing temperatures (it got down to only 16 degrees this past weekend!!) than with some warm spiced wine? It also gave me a good reason to break out my new vintage glasses that I got at 1600 Below:


Aren't they so pretty? I think they're from the 40's. I'm just disappointed that there were only 4 of them. To complement the vin chaud, I wanted to make something French and something easy. And I thought I had it when I decided to make croque madames. I mean, how hard complicated can they be? Aren't they just grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with an egg on top? Of course it's not that simple - it's French! But it was worth the effort - very rich and very delicious:


I love French food. Yum.

This is the recipe I used for vin chaud:


1 bottle of red wine (a fruity type, preferably)
1/3 cup of cognac1/3 cup of brown sugar (or more…experiment)
Zest of one entire orange
4 whole cloves
3 or 4 cinnamon sticks

Put the wine and cognac into a pan and heat. Once it is good and warm, and if you are feeling particularly brave, hold a match to it and let the cognac flame off. Or leave it be and enjoy the extra warmth. Lower the heat and add the sugar, orange zest, cloves, and cinnamon. Let it heat through for another ten minutes. Strain and taste. If it is a bit overpowering, water it down a bit. Serve it in glass mugs if you have them.

This is the recipe I used for the croque madames - which I found here:


5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
6 ounces thinly sliced Gruyere
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
8 slices firm white sandwich bread, crusts discarded
¼ pound thinly sliced ham


Make the Sauce:

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small heavy sauce pan over moderately low heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes to make a roux. Whisk in milk and bringto a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop enough cheese to measure ½ cup. Whisk chopped cheese and mustard into sauce, then whisk until cheese is melted. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with nutmeg. Cover with wax paper placed directly on surface to keep warm.

Make The Sandwich:

Lay 4 slices bread on work surface. Divide ham and remaining cheese slices among them. Spread 1 tablespoon Mornay sauce evenly on each of remaining bread slices and invert over ham and cheese. Spread half of remaining butter evenly on top of sandwiches and transfer, buttered sides down, to an oven proof 12 inch skillet. Spread remaining butter on top of sandwiches. Cook over low heat, turning ounces, until both sides are golden, 6 to 8 minutes total.

Preheat broiler. Leaving sandwiches in skillet, spread tops of sandwiches evenly with remaining Mornay sauce. Broil 5 to 6 inches from heat until sauce is bubbling and golden in patches, about 2 minutes. Transfer sandwiches to plates.


iheartpie said...

Oh my goodness - the croques madames look amazing! I'm salivating just from the pictures - and love the new wine glasses!

Michael Johnson said...

So sorry we missed this. The sandwich looks amazing! I love a fried egg on top of anything.

Karen said...

Your new glasses are so cute!