What in the world is Croque Madame? I guessed that it was a sandwich you’d have in France, but I wasn’t sure. After a Google search, I learned that it’s tied to a number of recipes. As a sandwich, it’s toasted ham and cheese with a fried egg on top. In England and the U.S., the sandwich features chicken instead of ham, without the fried egg. To put our own spin on it, we in the Test Kitchens turned the flavors of the original Croque Madame sandwich into a hearty egg bake.
This new recipe, Croque Madame Egg Bake, carries on the European flair with ingredients like Dijon mustard, Black Forest ham, and even English muffin bread. The bread has a firm texture which crisps up nicely as it is lightly baked. Unlike most egg bakes, this recipe only makes 4 servings, so it’s perfect for an intimate brunch or meal at home. Let’s get started.
First, heat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with no-stick cooking spray, and then set it aside.
Combine the English muffin bread cubes and 2 tablespoons melted butter in a bowl.
Spread the bread cubes in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes, turning the cubes over once. The cubes should be crisp and just beginning to brown.
Next, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until the butter sizzles.
Add the Swiss chard. If chard is unfamiliar to you, it’s a very tasty and nutritious vegetable in the beet family. It is grown for its green leaves and stalks, which are similar to celery.
Cook the Swiss chard for 5 minutes until it has wilted. Remove it from the heat.
Then combine 3 cups milk, the eggs, country-style Dijon mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl with a whisk.
Stir in the toasted bread cubes, cooked Swiss chard and chopped ham.
Spread the egg mixture into the baking dish.
Bake 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. It is best to test the baked egg bake using a dinner knife.
The final touch is to make a rich sauce to pour over each serving of egg bake. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until sizzling. Add flour and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook this mixture 2 minutes.
Next, add 1 cup milk and 1 tablespoon country-style Dijon mustard.
Cook until the sauce is bubbly around edges and slightly thickened. Remove the pan from the heat.
Stir in 2 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese until it is melted. Serve the sauce over each serving of egg bake.
This egg bake is reminiscent of the flavors of the Croque Madame sandwich. Croque Madame today is not just a sandwich, but has evolved into a special brunch or dinner entrée: Croque Madame Egg Bake. Let us know what you think of it!