The Story of my Croque Madame
Flashback more than 10 years. I’m sitting in my high school French class getting my first taste of a culture and cuisine that was not my own. This class initiated my obsession with both travel and food, including my first taste of French food; a Croque Madame.
Jump forward to July, 2014. My wife and I land in Paris for our first European exploration. We get to our AirBNB, drop our bags and start walking to the Eiffel Tower. The entire time I was searching for cafes, brasseries, or any other eateries that might serve my favorite breakfast treat at 9:00pm. Ultimately, none of the places we stopped offered breakfast items for dinner, so we grabbed bread, cheese, and wine and enjoyed a picnic under the stars and Eiffel Tower bathed in Parisian light.
The next morning, my mission was clear (and much easier). We simply walked walked across the street from our AirBNB to a quaint brasserie. I order a Croque Madame (with egg), my wife orders a Croque Monsier (without egg).
When our sandwiches come out, they are bulging with salty French ham in between slices of fresh French bread, likely fried in an entire stick of butter, and dripping creamy French cheeses. The egg on my sandwich was cooked perfectly. What makes the Croque Madame so delicious is the way a runny yolk pulls all of flavors together and intensifies the creamy texture of the sandwich. From that day, I had to have a Croque Madame every single morning while in France.
My obsession with the Croque Madame has driven me to master them at home. It’s not something I make often, but when I do it’s a delicious flavor explosion. Since mastering (IMO) the traditional version, I have tried many variations, in search of the perfect balance between flavor and healthfulness. It may never be a “healthy” dish, but if you want to make a traditional Croque Madame, you can cut out all of the “bad fat” from the butter and use our Mission “Buttery & Sweet” EVOO to both grill the bread and fry the egg. I also like to use a very flavorful cheese (like Fiscalini Bandage Wrapped Cheddar) which allows me to use much less.
My personal favorite is using our Jalapeño olive oil. The subtle spice and heat it adds to the flavor makes it seem like there was a missing vital ingredient all along. If you want a more Mediterranean flavor, use our Mediterranean Medley, or if you want even more heat, try using our Habanero olive oil.
It’s incredible how much flavor you can add to your favorite dishes so simply. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You’re bound to make something amazing!