Let's Brunch Let's Brunch by Belinda Smith-Sullivan

A croque madame is a hot ham and cheese sandwich topped with a fried egg. Without the egg, it is referred to as croque monsieur. Both of these sandwiches are served warm, dripping with a Gruyère cheese sauce. This sandwich is the perfect choice for a light brunch.



  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup milk, room temperature

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • White pepper, to taste

  • Pinch of nutmeg

  • 1 1 ⁄ 2 cups grated Gruyère cheese

  • 8 thick slices brioche

  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 12 slices deli ham

  • 4 large eggs

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Preheat broiler. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 2 table- spoons butter. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, 2–3 minutes. Gradually add milk while whisking and continue whisking until mixture starts to thicken. Reduce heat and let simmer, whisking occasionally, for 4–5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt, white pepper, nutmeg, and half the cheese. Set aside and let cool slightly.

Spray a baking sheet or shallow baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Spread 4 slices of brioche with mustard and top each with 3 slices of ham. Spread top of ham with some of the sauce and top with another slice of bread.

In a large skillet, add remaining butter. When hot, brown 2 sandwiches on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Place sandwiches on baking sheet and repeat with remaining 2 sandwiches. Brush the top of sandwiches with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Using the same skillet, wipe out and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Over medium-low heat, gently crack the eggs into the pan, without breaking the yolks. Season with salt and black pepper. Cook until whites are set and yolk is runny, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile place sandwiches under the broiler and broil for 2–3 minutes until sauce is bubbly and golden brown. Top each sandwich with an egg and serve immediately.

Reprinted from Let’s Brunch. Copyright © 2020 by Belinda Smith-Sullivan. Photographs copyright © 2020 by Susan Barnson Hayward. Published by Gibbs Smith.