Monday, April 11, 2016

Baked Croque-Monsieur Casserole

Recipes from The Kitchn
Croque Monsieur
With Dijon mustard, thinly sliced ham, and creamy Gruyère, it seems the classic croque-monsieur was made for the casserole dish. If it's a brunch stunner you're after, or a dinner option with breakfast undertones, then this all-in-one baked take on the croque-monsieur should shoot to the top of your must-make list.
Croque-Misieur casserole
This dish can be assembled the day of, but it's actually best if everything up until the actual cooking is done the night before. This allows the flavors to meld together and gives the bread time to sop up the milk and eggs. When baked, the bread takes on the custardy texture of French toast and creates a firm-but-creamy base for the casserole.

Because this dish is so rich, it's topped with arugula (dressed with lemon and olive oil) just before serving. The bitter, peppery bite of arugula and acidic sharpness of lemon cut right through the rich saltiness, adding a bit of bright vibrancy.
As with anything simple and delicious, many variations on this sandwich exist: Add a fried egg on top and you have the croque-madame. The croque-Provençal sees the addition of tomatoes. Replace the ham with smoked salmon for croque-Norvégien. The croque-madame is especially popular; the name supposedly comes from the egg on top resembling an old-fashioned lady's hat. Take a cue from evolving interpretation of this sandwich to customize this dish with ingredients of your choice.

Baked Croque-Monsieur Casserole

Serves 8 to 10

2 cups whole milk
7 eggs
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
12 ounces day-old crusty loaf of bread, cut into 10 (1/2-inch) slices
Butter, to grease the casserole
1/4 cup chives, chopped
3/4 pounds thinly sliced ham
2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
1 to 2 cups arugula
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon olive oil
Generously butter a 9x13-inch baking dish and set aside. Beat the milk, eggs, salt, and pepper together. Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on one side of each slice of bread. Lay half of the sliced bread in the buttered baking dish, Dijon-side up.

Spoon half of the egg mixture over the bread, making sure that each piece is fully covered. Sprinkle the chives over the bread and egg mixture. Place slices of ham over the bread in an even layer. Top with half of the Gruyère cheese. Layer with remaining bread, Dijon-side down. Pour over remaining egg mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Heat the oven to 350°F Bake, uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes, until the egg mixture has set and cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss together arugula, lemon juice, and olive oil and spread over the casserole. Serve immediately.


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