From Dish Rachelle:
I love brunch but on a chilly January Sunday, sometimes I love lounging in my sweatpants even more. What’s a Dish to do?
The answer’s surprisingly obvious: if you can’t bring the people to the croque madame, bring the croque madame to the people. To be honest, this isn’t my go-to brunch order (I’m more of an omelette or pancakes kind of girl) but I recently saw two internet recipes that inspired me to give this gourmet ham, egg and cheese another shot.
The first is this breakfast sandwich post from Ideas in Food, one of my husband’s favorite cooking blogs. He sent it to me because he knows there’s a special place in my heart for “Egg in the Bread” aka “Toad in the Hole” because my parents used to make it for me when I was little and I still cook it for us every once in a while.
The second is Ruth Reichl’s grilled cheese recipe from her How to Make it Better series for Gilt Taste. I incorporated many of her suggestions here and as promised, my sandwich was better for it.
I’m not going to get overly precise in my measurements here because seriously, it’s brunch – if we can’t be laid-back before noon on a Sunday, then really, when can we be?
4 slices country bread
butter for spreading
shredded gruyere cheese (start with about a cup – if you need more, go for it)
1-1 ½ tablespoons chopped shallot
2 slices of ham
mayo for spreading
more butter for cooking
Diet food, this isn’t:
Start by layering one slice of bread on top of another and creating a hole in the center using a cookie cutter. Extra points if it’s cat-shaped. Repeat for second sandwich.
Mix together the grated gruyere with the chopped shallots and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.
Butter the inside of each slice of bread. If the butter’s too cold and/or the bread’s too delicate, warm it in the microwave for 15 seconds.
Butter side up, sprinkle a healthy amount of the cheese mixture on two slices of bread (one for each sandwich). Avoid the hole in the center.
Sprinkle just a bit more cheese over the ham and then close the sandwich, lining up the holes. Spread a thin layer of mayo on the outside of the bread and flip, carefully, to repeat on the other side.
Once both sandwiches are closed, melt a tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Carefully place your sandwiches in the hot butter and crack an egg in the center of each one.
Cook on one side until golden brown, about 4 minutes, and then flip. Cook until bottom side is golden brown and the egg has reached a desired level of doneness.
Serve immediately, with a nice helping of dressed greens, Brooklyn brunch style.