Frugal French Friday: Croque-Monsieur

If you want to a truly inexpensive and quick French meal, serve Croque-Monsieur.

Serve this simple ham and cheese tartine with a green salad and a bottle of simple rose table wine. Gussy it up a little. Make sure the presentation is special. Call it by its French name. Don't call it a grilled ham-and-cheese sandwich.

Your guests will be impressed.

They serve this in Paris. They do. I've ordered it, and I've ordered its mate, Croque-Madame, which has an egg on top.

The first time was a cafe near Gare d'Austerlitz. The waiter was appropriately snooty and snarky, right out of a movie.

"He thinks you're a hick because you ordered Croque-Monsier," speculated my husband.

"It's on the menu, " I countered. "If it's gauche to order it, why is it on the menu?"

I suspected it was on the menu so Parisian waiters would have a reason to be arrogant with American diners.

But I ordered it again, this time on Boulevard St. Michel. And the waiter was, well if not warm and welcoming, not snarky.

So there.

I made a Croque-Monsieur last night. I ate it with a simple fresh vegetable salad with green and red peppers.  I've been eating some version of this traditional French bistro meal all my life.

Croque-Monsieur means "crunch mister" and it's been around since about 1910, according to this article.  Add a tomato and it's a Croque-Provencal. I do that a lot. In fact, that's one of my standard breakfast dishes and it has been for most of my life.

Cost: I bought a small baguette for $1.19. I used about half. The rest of the ingredients totaled about 75 cents, so the entire tartine cost me only $1.35 per serving. 

Wine Pairing:  More often than not, I have ordered a rosé from Provence with this dish. But I've also paired ham dishes with Beaujolais, and I think that's a good choice, too.


This sounds wonderful for any meal of the day! What sort of ham do you use?

Jane, I used shaved ham from the deli, but I have used thicker slices. The local deli carries a rosemary ham that is really good.

This really is my favorite sandwich!
sandwich sounds yummy.....story with it was sounded even better....keep writing....Cindy
Cindy, thank you for visiting! I've used at least one photo from your stand here.
Chef Dad said…
Ooh, that looks good. I'll do open-faced sandwiches with a simple soup. Will add this one to the mix as the weather cools.

Chef Dad
Chef Dad, if you are what you eat, I'm afraid I'm a Monsieur, not a Madame.

Thank you for visiting!

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