Croque Madame is a traditional French grilled sandwich consisting of ham and cheese, and a topping of fried egg and some béchamel sauce. It is actually a variation of croque monsieur, or a cheese and hot ham grilled sandwich. The name comes from the verb croquer meaning 'to crunch' and the word madame. The name dates back to around 1960, and the exact reason for using the combination of words is not clear. Some people attribute the name 'madame' to the similarity in shape of the fried egg to a woman's hat. The dish is also called croque-à-cheval in certain parts of Normandy.
Croque Madame Recipe Overview
The overview of a commonly followed recipe for preparing croque madame has been discussed here-
Ingredients: Ingredients required for preparing the sandwich include sandwich bread, thinly sliced baked ham, gruyere cheese (grated), butter, eggs, canola oil, béchamel sauce and Dijon mustard.
Mehtod of Preparation: Mustard is first spread on a bread slice, followed by few ham slices and then grated Gruyere cheese. The cheese is covered with another slice of bread, and butter is spread on the outer surface of the sandwich. The sandwich is grilled, covered with a fried egg and then, some béchamel sauce.
Serving Croque Madame Sandwiches
The sandwiches are often served at bars and cafes as a snack.
Croque Madame Recipe Variations
The dish may have variants according to the type of bread used for the sandwiches, which may be rye, bread, a croissant or onion roll as well. A certain degree of sweetness may also be added to the sandwich by adding a layer of jam to the bread, or a more savory version can be prepared by use of salad dressing. Health conscious people may use tortilla instead of bread to wrap the fillings so that the calorie and carbohydrate content of the dish is reduced. These tortilla rolls can be served hot or cold.
The simpler version of croque madame, which does not contain the topping of fried egg and béchamel sauce, is called croque-monsieur.
Monte Cristo is a similar American sandwich containing ham and cheese which is coated with egg wash and then deep fried.
The French celebrity chef Jacques Pepin prepares a version with chicken instead of ham, which he demonstrated on a TV program 'Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home', where he worked with Julia Child, and also discussed in a cookbook with the same title.
Nutritional Information on Croque Madame Sandwich
Egg content of the sandwich serves as a very good source of protein and other essential nutrients. Cheese is a good source of calcium which is beneficial for bone and dental health. Ham present in the sandwich is rich in vitamin C, protein, thiamin, niacin, phosphorus, vitamin B12 and selenium. However, the dish also contains a considerable percentage of sodium and cholesterol; hence its consumption should be to moderate levels.
One croque madame sandwich contains about 569 calories, of which 160 calories are from fat. It contains 295mg cholesterol and 1720mg sodium. It also contains 260mg potassium, 63g carbohydrates and 40.8g protein.