Many people know about Croque Monsieurs, which is a delicious French cheese sandwich made with gruyere, parmesan, ham and a simple béchamel sauce, toasted in the oven. Croque Madames are the same recipe, but with a fried or poached egg added on top. In our opinion, this recipe is easier to pull together, looks impressive when served, and is perfect as an appetizer or brunch addition.
12 thin slices ham, patted dry
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
2 cups grated Gruyère cheese (available in the Now You’re Cooking cheese cooler!)
1/4 cup Dijon mustard (we used the Stonewall Kitchen Caramelized Onion Mustard — available in our food section)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
12 oz. brioche, torn into small pieces (about 6 heaping cups), dry out on a sheet pan for 24 hours to make them “stale”
Chopped fresh scallions
Pre-heat oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly coat 12 standard muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.
Line each muffin cup with a slice of ham, folding and tucking it as needed to fit and leaving a little bit sticking out above the rim of the cup. Set aside to wait to be filled.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, cheese, mustard, salt, and pepper. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the brioche. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Divide the brioche mixture evenly among the ham-lined muffin cups. Bake until the tops are deeply golden and crusty, 15 to 18 minutes.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool slightly. Top the brioche bites with a few grindings of pepper, garnish with scallions and serve immediately. Makes 12.