Croque Madame: the best brunch sandwich

A classy, French version of a traditional breakfast sandwich: egg, cheese, ham, crispy bread, and more cheese. This intimate recipe serves two, but double or triple if your hosting a brunch party. Paired perfectly with a spicy bloody mary.
2TBSPNunsalted butter
1 ½CUPSmilk
10OZSgruyere cheese, grated
CUPparmesan cheese, finely grated
1Xwhole nutmeg, to taste
4Xslices white bread, toasted
2TBSPNdijon mustard
4Xslices baked ham, thinly sliced

  1. Begin by making the bechamel sauce, in a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, then add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until flour is incorporated, about 2 minutes. 
  2. Using a whisk, slowly add the milk, whisking constantly, and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Milk will thicken in about 6 minutes, then whisk in 1/3 of the grated gruyere and all of the parmesan cheese until smooth. 
  3. Season the bechamel sauce with black pepper, salt, and freshly grate a little of the nutmeg, to taste.  Set aside off heat to assemble the sandwiches.
  4. Set the broil feature in the oven on high, and cover a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil.  Spread the dijon mustard on two slices of bread, then add 2 slices of ham on top of the mustard, and then cover with the remaining gruyere.  
  5. Place the gruyere covered slices on the baking sheet, and place under the broiler for 2 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  Remove from the oven, keeping the broiler on, and top each slice with the remaining bread slices.  
  6. Spoon most of the bechamel over top of the sandwiches, and place in the oven until the sauce begins to bubble and become golden brown.  Meanwhile, prepare the eggs.
  7. In a non-stick saute pan over medium heat, add a little olive oil, then crack the eggs into the pan, and season with salt and pepper.  Flip the eggs once for over-easy, or remove from the pan if you prefer sunny side up. 
  8. Remove the sandwiches from the oven, top each with a fried egg, and spoon a little more of the bechamel over the tops to garnish.  Season with more salt and pepper, if you like, and serve immediately. 


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