Decadent Croque Madame

You've never tasted a fried egg-topped ham and cheese sandwich as rich and creamy as this before.


  • For the bechamel sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • For the sandwiches:
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
  • 8 thick slices rustic bread
  • 1-2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 12 slices Black Forest ham
  • 2 1/3 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
  • 2 cups micro greens
  • Crème fraîche
  • Aleppo or cayenne pepper


  1. Make the bechamel sauce: Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles, about 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking all the while. Whisk in thyme leaves, mustard, nutmeg and salt. Stir occasionally as the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  2. Assemble the sandwiches: Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Spread mustard on the opposite side of each slice, then top each with 3 slices of ham, followed by 2 tablespoons of bechamel sauce and a small handful of cheese. Sandwich together with remaining slices of bread, butter side up.
  3. Preheat broiler.
  4. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and, working in batches, toast sandwiches until golden, about 3-4 minutes. Flip sandwiches over, top each with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup sauce, spreading evenly, and the remaining cheese. Broil until the cheese has melted and is bubbly and golden in spots, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Crack in eggs and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the whites are just set and yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes.
  6. To serve, top each sandwich with a fried egg. Sprinkle with chopped chives, micro greens, and a pinch of Aleppo pepper. Serve immediately.