Croque Monsieur Panini
Pair these rich ham and cheese sandwiches with a simple green salad tossed with a light vinaigrette.
- 5 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 fresh thyme sprig
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 6 oz. Gruyère cheese, grated
- 8 slices sweet batard
- 4 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 12 oz. thinly sliced ham
Preheat an electric panini press on the panini setting according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbs. of the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until well combined and lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk, then add the bay leaf, thyme sprig, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook, whisking, until the mixture simmers and thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 oz. of the cheese and whisk until melted. Remove and discard the bay leaf and thyme sprig. Keep the Mornay sauce warm.
In another small saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 Tbs. butter. Brush one side of each bread slice with melted butter. Turn 4 of the slices over and brush each with 1 tsp. mustard. Top each with 1 oz. cheese, 3 oz. ham and about 1/4 cup Mornay sauce, spreading it evenly over the ham. Cover each with one of the remaining bread slices, buttered side up.
Place 2 sandwiches on the preheated panini press and close the lid. Cook until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat to cook the remaining sandwiches. Serve immediately. Serves 4.