Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Guest Post: Croque Benedict

It is with great pleasure to introduce you all to Victoria from Mission Food: A Foodies Gastronomic Adventures, she has a wonderful blog and lovely chatty personality she even kindly called in to my radio show on tea and cake!, she is attending culinary school and can wow you with her knowledge. 
This recipe is the perfect lunch or brunch I am hungry just adding this post, enjoy!

I was so excited when Rebecca asked me to guest post on her blog.  Unfortunately it took me a little while to get my act together, haha.  I finally came up with the perfect recipe to share on her blog.  I love croque monsieur sandwiches and have even made them myself in the past .  If you’re not familiar with French bistro cuisine, a croque monsieur is basically a grilled ham and Gruyere cheese sandwich with Dijon mustard, and often topped with Bechamel sauce, more cheese and then broiled.  Adding a fried egg on top makes it a croque madame!  I decided to take this sandwich concept and turn it into a breakfast dish, mimicking one of my favorites, Eggs Benedict.

I call my creation Croque Benedict, and it’s not unlike its predecessor, but boasts a Dijon-spiked Mornay sauce instead of the traditional Hollandaise.  Although the sauce is cheesy, it’s decidedly lighter than a heart-blocking Hollandaise. 

Croque Benedict
Serves 2

4 eggs
2 English muffins
4 slices Black Forest ham
1 T. white vinegar or lemon juice
Unsalted butter for buttering English muffins

Dijon Mornay:
2 T. unsalted butter
2 T. all-purpose flour
1 cup milk, warmed
2 oz Gruyere cheese, grated
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and white pepper to taste
Pinch of grated nutmeg

For the sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk, cooking for a few minutes until the roux begins to turn a lightly golden hue. Carefully whisk in the milk a little at a time. Keep whisking or else you will have lumpy sauce. Once the milk is incorporated, season with salt, white pepper, and nutmeg, and cook a few minutes longer, whisking often to make sure it doesn't burn or get lumpy. Add the Gruyere cheese and the Dijon mustard and whisk until completely melted and smooth.  The sauce should be nice and thick. Keep sauce on low heat, whisking occasionally, until ready to use.

Meanwhile, toast the English muffins and lightly butter them.  Top with folded up ham slices and keep warm in a 200ºF oven until ready to assemble.

Crack the eggs into individual small bowls or cups.  Fill a wide, shallow pot several inches deep with water.  Add the vinegar or lemon juice and place the pot over high heat until it begins to simmer, 160 to 180ºF.  Lower the heat slightly to maintain this temperature, and so the water doesn’t begin to boil. 

Carefully slip each egg into the gently simmering water by slightly submerging the lip of the cup or bowl into the water and carefully pouring the egg into the hot water.  With a spoon, gently nudge the egg whites closer to their yolks.  Poach eggs for about 3 minutes, using your finger to lightly press the yolk to check for firmness.  Remove from water with a slotted spoon when cooked to your liking.  Keep track of which egg went into the water first and remove in the same order.  Drain well before serving.  You can put the eggs on paper towels to blot off before serving.

Place a poached egg atop each ham-topped English muffin half and spoon Dijon Mornay over it.  Serve immediately.

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