This is going to be the fanciest ham and cheese sandwich you will ever have. Leave it to the French to take something so simple and humble, and slather it with béchamel, top it with tons of cheese and toast it until golden brown and gooey. And to top it off, let’s put a fried egg on it.

Typically made on basic white bread, I’ve taken this dish even further and made it on a buttery croissant. Hey, the more butter the better, right? There’s only one thing that will happen after having this: you will never be able to go back to a regular ham and cheese sandwich.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

Béchamel:
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
¼ cup + 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups milk
½ tsp salt
Fresh black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
½ cup grated gruyére
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Sandwich:
6 croissants
Grainy mustard or Dijon
400 g Black Forest ham
2/3 cup grated gruyére
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt
Fresh black pepper

6 fried eggs
Chopped chives, garnish
Fresh black pepper
Maldon salt, garnish

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Directions:

For the béchamel:

1. Heat the butter over medium-low heat in a medium sized saucepot.

2. Once the butter is completely melted and begins to bubble, add the flour and whisk until combined.

3. Switch to a heat-proof rubber spatula, and continue stirring until the mixture is a light golden colour and smells slightly nutty. Be sure to scrape all around the sides and bottom to ensure nothing is sticking or burning.

4. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the milk into the pot.

5. Switch back to the rubber spatula and cook, constantly stirring and scraping the sides and bottom, until the béchamel is thick and bubbly. About 6-8 minutes.

6. Turn the heat off and stir in the salt, fresh black pepper, nutmeg, gruyére and parmesan until the cheese has melted.

7. Set aside to cool.

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For the sandwiches:

1. Pre-heat the oven to broil and set the rack in the middle of the oven.

2. Slice the croissants open and spread a generous amount of mustard on each half.

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3. Lay the ham on the top halves of the croissants and top with the bottom halves. This will give the béchamel a nice flat surface to sit on.

4. Transfer the sandwiches onto a sheet pan.

5. Top each sandwich with lots of béchamel spreading it to the edges of the croissant. This will prevent the edges of the croissant from burning in the oven.

6. Combine the gruyére and parmesan, and top each sandwich with the cheese. Lots of cheese!

7. Season the tops with salt and fresh black pepper.

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8. Place the sandwiches under the boiler for 1 to 2 minutes, rotating the pan half way through, until the cheese and béchamel are melted and bubbly.

9. Remove from the oven, plate each sandwich with a fried egg, garnish with chopped chives, fresh black pepper and Maldon salt.

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