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Summer Sale - Save up to 40%
Summer Sale - Save up to 40%

Ham and Cheese Sandwich with Béchamel, Tomato, and Egg

From Paris Cafés by Sharon O'Connor


This is Le Select’s version of a croque madame, an open-face sandwich what has been a staple of Parisian cafes since the 1920s. Made with Poilane bread, melted cheese, ham, béchamel, sliced tomato, and a sunny-side-up egg, it’s a signature sandwich that’s delicious served at all hours.

Ham and Cheese Sandwich with Béchamel, Tomato, and Egg
4 slices pain au levain (sour dough) or other dense, crusty bread
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
4 thin slices cooked ham
4 thin slices Gruyere, Emmenthal ,or Swiss cheese, plus 4 tablespoons shredded cheese
1 large tomato, cut into 8 slices
4 large eggs
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Bechamel Sauce

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole or 2% milk
Freshly ground nutmeg to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.

2. For the béchamel sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon or whisk to make a smooth paste; continue cooking and stirring until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the milk and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the nutmeg, salt, and pepper; set aside.

3. Toast the bread slices and arrange them on a baking sheet. Spread the bread with 3 tablespoons of the butter. Top each slice with 1 slice of ham, 1 slice of cheese, and 2 tomato slices. Top each sandwich with about 2 tablespoons of béchamel sauce and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon shredded cheese.

4. Bake them in the preheated oven until the cheese melts and turns golden brown, about 12 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the sandwiches in the oven to keep them warm.

5. In a large skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter over medium-low heat. Crack the eggs into the skillet and cook until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, 3 to 4 minutes or to your preference. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Transfer the sandwiches to 4 plates and top each one with a sunny-side-up egg. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 sandwiches