When visiting family near Lake Geneva in Switzerland, we always hop over the border to France (5 minutes away) to visit our favorite fromagerie and stock up on French (and Swiss) cheeses, charcuterie, and exceptional Bayonne Ham. After we’ve picked up a few fresh loaves of Pain de Campagne we head back home to make Croque Monsieur for lunch. Although traditionally made with gruyere cheese, we love to use Tomme de Savoie, a milder semi-firm cow’s milk cheese that lets the flavor of the Bayonne Ham shine through.
The delicately sweet and savory air-cured Bayonne Ham is produced in the heart of France’s Basque Country and designated by its Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), which ensures its authenticity. It is produced according to culinary traditions that date to the 1600s and is still preserved exclusively with salt from Salies de-Béarn’s salty spring water. The resulting nine to twelve-month aged Bayonne Ham is renowned for its sublime flavor, slight hint of saltiness, and always exceptional quality.
This Croque Monsieur recipe with Bayonne Ham features the trademark cheesy bechamel used to coat the bread slices before baking, and makes it a grilled cheese sandwich on a whole other level.Print
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups hot milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces Gruyere cheese (although we prefer Tomme de Savoie when we can find it in the U.S.), grated.
- 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
- 8 slices sturdy bread such as Pain de Campagne
- 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 8 slices Bayonne Ham
- Preheat: the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Melt butter: over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 2 minutes .
- Pour the hot milk: into the pan and whisk constantly, until the sauce has thickened to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat: add salt, pepper, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan cheese.
- Toast the bread: put the bread slices on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Flip the slices and bake for 5 minutes, or until starting crisp.
- Brush: half the bread slices with mustard and add two slices of ham to each, top with the half the remaining Gruyere and the other slice of toast.
- Spread the tops: with the cheese sauce (you will have some leftover), sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake on the top rack of the oven for 10 minutes or until the sandwiches are lightly browned.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Sandwich
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: French
- Serving Size: 4
Keywords: croque monsieur bayonne ham