Lift a run of the mill ham and cheese sandwich with this easy ham cheese toastie or Croque Monsieur, combining brioche eggy bread, stringy mozzarella cheese and versatile Princes canned ham.
A toastie – toasted sandwich – might be known as the staple of students and a hangover from 60s bedsit dwellers – the sandwich toaster itself must surely be past its glory days – but that doesn’t mean it has to be, or even should be, forgotten. A few minutes can take a ham and cheese sandwich from the essence of ordinary to something much more enticing; crunchy, gooey and oozing cheese.
Here, we’ve lifted the sandwich by using a nice light brioche bread: the added butter makes for a sinfully tasty sandwich, but it does mean that it joins the list of occasional treats rather than frequent staples. Rather than go with the traditional croque monsieur recipe using a bechamel sauce, we’ve decided to go for an eggy bread/french toast influence, and soak the bread in an egg and milk mixture. This means that we can cook our sandwich in a frying pan and get that lovely brown, crunchy layer on the outside. It’s better if you don’t cook it too fast, so that the heat has time to melt the cheese properly. The other advantage of this recipe is that it’s a lot faster than having to make a bechamel sauce, and when it comes to a snack like a toastie, speed is of essence.
The only thing you have to watch out for is that the soaked bread can be a little delicate. I just soak one side, which I use as the outside of each sandwich. And don’t stand on ceremony – once served, start eating almost immediately.
Pop over to Come Home to Princes, where you find lots of other recipes, including some more from me.
Easy toasted ham and cheese sandwich (cheat's croque monsieur)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp milk
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 4 slices brioche bread
- 1 tbsp butter (for frying)
- 2 slices ham (thick cut)
- 40 g mozzarella (sliced)
- 40 g strong cheese – Swiss, Cheddar etc (sliced)
- Beat the egg and milk together in a flat bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste, and soak the brioche – one side of each slice only.2 eggs, 1 tbsp milk, salt and pepper, 4 slices brioche bread
- Heat the butter in the frying pan and assemble the sandwich in the pan, starting with a slice of brioche, egg side down, then the ham and cheese and the second slice of brioche.1 tbsp butter, 2 slices ham, 40 g mozzarella, 40 g strong cheese – Swiss, Cheddar etc
- Fry gently over a medium heat until the brioche is golden and the cheese has started to melt. Eat immediately!
StorageDon't even think about it! Storing or freezing this brioche sandwich will mean disappointing results. Make it and eat it straight away.
Hints & tips
- The soaked bread can be a little delicate, so I just soak one side. Use the eggy side of the bread as the outside of the sandwich. You can put the first piece egg-side down in the pan and layer up the ham and cheese there.
- Don't turn the heat up too high. You don't want the outside cooked before the cheese melts.
Recipe feature of ham and cheese toastie commissioned by Princes. All opinions our own.