Swiss Croque Monsieur

Last week in the “kitchen” section of Ancestors in Aprons, I listed some of my favorite Swiss foods and gave you a recipe for an unusual way to use Swiss cheese.  Here’s another Swiss cheese recipe–super simple and delicious.

When my husband Ken and I traveled in Switzerland with two of our sons in the early 1980s, we visited several places that Ken’s ancestors came from. One of our journeys was to the little town of Gruyere, which as far as I know what not the home of any of his family.

Gruyere, Switzerland

Gruyere, Switzerland

As we waited for the bus to return to the valley from this mountain town known for cheese, we stopped in a tiny cafe to feed our always-hungry teens.  There we saw a board with the day’s special listed–Croque Monsieur.  That was totally new to us, so we took a look at what was coming out of the kitchen and ordered Croque Monsieurs all around.

Really, it is just a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, but the combo of just the right bread, the right cheese, lots of butter and a dab of mustard made it an instant favorite in our family.

While we were traveling through small towns in the Canton of Bern, where many of Ken’s ancestors who later came to America were born and married, I fell in love with a lovely hand-painted black pottery and brought just two pieces back with me.

So here is our favorite sandwich sitting on my favorite souvenir from Switzerland.

Croque Monsieur

Croque Monsieur on Swiss pottery plate

Even though Ken is descended from his grandmother Helen Stucky’s first husband–a Bair–it was a real kick to read the signature of the pottery artist–a Kohler (the family name of Helen’s second husband.)

Swiss black pottery

Kohler signature on Swiss black pottery.

From a site called 20th century forum:

There were two different potteries in Biel named Kohler.

1. Kohler Biel, these are the two brothers Stefan and Markus Kohler. The pottery worked to 1995 inclusive.

2. Hugo Kohler, he was the son of the ceramic artist Fritz Kohler. Hugo Kohler was already working in the ’50s. 

There’s a second piece featured in the recipe box below.

Swiss Croque Monsieur

Ingredients

  • 8 Slices of bread (A country-style white is preferred)
  • Butter
  • Mustard (Dijon or German-style)
  • 8 medium slices Ham
  • 16 thin slices Cheese (Emmenthaler Swiss or Gouda)

Directions

1. Heat griddle or heavy skillet brushed with oil or oil/butter combination.
2. Spread softened butter on one side of slice of bread.
3. Put the butter-side down on a plate to assemble the sandwich.
4. Spread a thin layer of mustard on another slice of bread.
5. Layer cheese, then ham, then more cheese on the first slice of bread and top with the mustard side down on top. Press firmly together. Butter outside of second slice. Repeat with other bread, ham and cheese.
6. Brown over a low-medium heat, so that the cheese will melt and the bread become a golden brown--but not burnt.
7. Slice each Croque Monsieur sandwich diagonally, and serve.

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4 thoughts on “Swiss Croque Monsieur

  1. Edie


    Twitter:
    Not being of the kitchen-oriented persuasion, many of the recipes posted here are beyond my reach. This one, however, is simple enough for even the cooking averse to master. And I could eat one of those sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day — well, for at least a week before I can imagine getting tired of it.

    Reply
    1. Vera Marie BadertscherVera Marie Badertscher Post author

      I’m glad that this recipe rang your chimes (or cowbells, in this case). Maybe I’ll start a category called “Even Edie”–mint tea, grits, sloppy joes, hot buttered rum, tuna salad, even stewed apples with molasses and sauerkraut with apples and sausage are easy-peasy. I know, I know, you have to cut up the apples for those last two!!

      Reply
    1. Vera Marie BadertscherVera Marie Badertscher Post author

      Kerry, a big dab of home made fruit jam is delicious, I think, but I can’t remember if the Swiss served anything particular on the side, and jam is definitely a bit frou-frou for this very basic sandwich. I do have another version that mimics the version that some people swear by with bechamel sauce and I’ll be sharing that this week.

      Reply

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