Croque Madame (The Easiest Fancy French Cafe Sandwich)

This simple grilled ham and cheese sandwich is drenched in a decadent, cheesy sauce, that becomes bubbly and golden in the oven. A sunny side up egg tops it off as the crowning glory.
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter divided
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk warmed
  • Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • grated nutmeg
  • 8 slices good quality white bread or sourdough
  • 12-16 slices shaved ham not smoked
  • cups gruyere cheese grated
  • 4 large eggs


  • In a small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-low. Once bubbling, whisk in the flour until smooth. Whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk, raise heat to medium, and bring to a gentle boil. Whisk frequently, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in 3/4 cup of cheese, 1 teaspoon mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to  º400. Lay bread slices on a parchment lined sheet pan in a single layer. Spread half of the bread slices with dijon mustard, layer 4 very thin slices of ham, and top with 2 tablespoons shredded gruyere.
  • To the other half of bread slices, add 2 tablespoon of sauce, and place on top of the other half of the sandwich (cheese and sauce should be touching).
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in cast iron or heavy skillet. Place the assembled sandwich, sauced bread side down, in the skillet. Immediately spread butter on top side of sandwich. Press sandwich with a spatula if needed to get entire surface of bread toasted. Turn sandwich over and toast the other side of the sandwich.
  • Place all toasted sandwiches on sheet pan and top with 1 tablespoon sauce and 1 tablespoon gruyere. Toast in the oven until cheese is bubbly and golden, about 4 minutes. While sandwiches are in the oven, melt 2 tablespoons butter to that same skillet, and cook eggs sunny side up. Cover pan with a lid to set eggs.
  • Remove sandwiches from oven and top with sunny side up egg. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!