Croque monsieur, otherwise known as the ultimate cheese and ham toastie
• 8 thick slices white bread
• 100g cheddar cheese, grated
• 4 thick slices ham
• 100g butter
• sea salt
• freshly ground black pepper
For the béchamel sauce:
• 25g butter
• 25g plain flour
• 300ml milk
1 For the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the flour using a wooden spoon, then cook gently for 1 minute, still stirring.
2 Remove the pan from the heat and gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Return the pan to the heat and continue to cook, stirring constantly with the wooden spoon, until the sauce thickens.
3 Season with salt and pepper, then remove from the heat and leave until cold.
4 To make the sandwiches, spread a layer of the béchamel sauce over one side of four slices of the bread, then top each one with cheese, ham and another slice of bread.
5 Melt the butter in a large, non-stick frying pan until foaming, fry the sandwiches, two at a time, for 2–3 minutes on each side. Serve with a sprinkle of sea salt.
Recipe courtesy of James Martin, extracted from James Martin’s French Adventure