My husband and I have breakfast nearly every weekend at La Dijonaise in Culver City. He never orders anything except the croque-madame. It's that good! How fun it'd be to be able to make it for him myself!
Dear Sarah: La Dijonaise's take on this classic French comfort food sandwiches rich béchamel sauce and ham between two slices of pullman bread, then tops it with cheese, which is melted to gooey perfection. Top the sandwich with a fried egg (this is what distinguishes the "madame" from the "monsieur") and serve immediately. Yes, it's unapologetic goodness on a plate.
Total time: 45 minutes, plus cooling time for the béchamel
Note: Adapted from La Dijonaise Café et Boulangerie in Culver City. The restaurant uses bread from a local bakery and recommends pullman-type bread for the sandwiches.
2 cups milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
Salt and pepper
1. In a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge. Reduce the heat and keep the milk warm over very low heat.
2. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. When it bubbles, whisk in the flour and continue to cook until the mixture forms a golden roux, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Whisking constantly, add the warm milk in a steady stream. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with one-half teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper, along with the nutmeg, or to taste. Remove from heat and set aside until cooled. This makes about 2 cups sauce.