What to do with leftover cubed bread the day after a cheese fondue? (Cheese fondue is a Swiss dish where cubes of bread are dipped into melted cheese.) My mom suggested making a bread soup. However, my kids groaned. “Awwww. Noooo. Not soup again!!” (I do make a lot of soups to smuggle veggies into them.) So, I decided NOT to make the bread soup. Then, I stumbled upon a recipe for a croque madame casserole…bread, ham, cheese. My kids would love this!
A croque monsieur is basically a grilled ham and cheese sandwich—but leave it to the French to make even a ham and cheese sandwich sound classy. Croquer means to crunch and monsieur means mister. The sandwich originated in French cafés and bars as a quick snack. A croque monsieur served with a fried or poached egg on top is known as a croque madame. (In the United States, the Monte Cristo, a ham-and-cheese sandwich often dipped in egg and fried, is similar.)
The croque madame casserole recipe had the eggs served on top. However, I decide to change the recipe up a bit to smuggle the eggs into my picky eaters without them even noticing it. I did this by integrating the eggs into the casserole instead of putting them on top.
Here’s what I did.
Although the bread was a day old, my very conscientious husband had gone to many efforts to keep it fresh by keeping it in a Ziploc bag. So, I spread the cubes out on a baking tray, heated the oven to 200 Â°C (400 Â°F), then turned it off and placed the bread in there for an hour or so.
I mixed my bread and ham in a casserole dish (which realized afterward I should have prebuttered). Then, I poured the milk and eggs over it and let it sit while I prepared the sauce.
I made a roux using the butter and flour. Then, I added mustard, cheese, milk, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
I poured the sauce over the bread mixture and topped it with some more cheese. Then I baked it.
And the boys said:
- 5 cups cubed day-old bread
- 200 g. (ca. 7 oz.) ham, diced
- 6 eggs
- 500 ml. (2 cups) milk, divided
- 3 Tbsp. butter, plus some for the casserole dish
- 2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 200g (ca. 7 oz.) cheese such as Gruyère or Appenzeller, grated, divided
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 200 °C (400 °F).
- Place cubed bread and ham in a buttered, medium-sized casserole dish.
- Scramble the eggs and 250 ml. of milk. Pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture and toss. Set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour, one spoonful at a time, and whisk until smooth. Continue to cook until slightly thickened.
- Whisk in mustard.
- Add remaining milk and 150g. of cheese (reserving about 50 g. to sprinkle on top). Whisk until smooth. Remove from heat.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of nutmeg if desired.
- Pour sauce over the bread mixture and stir to combine.
- Top with remaining cheese.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly, golden brown, and firm.