Make-it-to-pay-day braai: Grilled croque monsieur

January is currently dragging on, with pay day just not getting any closer. To beat the blues this week and to get you through the last stretch we have found this deliciously awesome grilled croque monsieur recipe for those of you on a January budget, via Woolworths Taste.

INGREDIENTS
For the béchamel sauce:
3 cups milk
½ onion
4 fresh thyme sprigs, plus extra for serving
1 bay leaf
10 peppercorns
30 g butter
30 g flour
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the sandwich:
1 loaf farmhouse-style bread, thickly sliced
200 g Gruberg cheese, thickly sliced
3 T olive oil
200 g Royal Ashton cheese, thickly sliced
8 slices gypsy ham

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
To make the béchamel sauce, scald the milk in a saucepan along with the onion, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns for 3–5 minutes until it starts to simmer. Remove from the heat, strain and set aside.
In a clean saucepan, combine the butter and flour, and cook for 2 minutes, then add the  flavoured milk, a splash at a time, whisking continually. Once the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove it from the heat and season.

Place a griddle pan over a high heat, brush the bread with olive oil, then chargrill the bread for 1 minute on each side.

As soon as the braai is ready, layer slices of both cheeses and the ham over half of the slices of bread, place on the braai and grill. Once the cheese bubbles, remove from the heat and spoon approximately 1 T béchamel sauce over each slice. Season and sprinkle over the thyme, then grill again until golden brown and bubbling.

Top each slice with the remaining toast and serve immediately.

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