Typical French food Croque Monsieur & Croque Madame

What to eat in Paris

One typical French food Croque Monsieur – is basically a ham and Gruyere cheese toasted sandwich.

The twist is the cheese is on the OUTSIDE, and then grilled – normally in a frypan.

The Croque Monsieur family of famous french food

Sounds exotic doesn’t it? This popular famous French food is tasty, quick to make, and you can sit down in just about any bar or cafe and order one.

What’s different with the Croque Monsieur is that the sandwiches are prepared with bread – not toast – and then they are cooked in a frypan with a tiny bit of butter.

A typical famous French food is the Croque Monsieur, toasted ham and cheese sandwich.

The Croque Monsieur at right was ordered by me in a tiny little out-of-the-way café bar for breakfast one day, and it was huge! You can see the grilled cheese on the outside, which was particularly tasty.

Typical French Food Croque Monsieur Bechamel

This Bechamel version is baked in the oven.  The ham and cheese sandwiches are placed in a baking dish, and pre-prepared Bechamel sauce [flour, milk, butter, salt, and pepper] is poured over.  Grated Swiss cheese covers the top, then the sandwiches are baked for about 15 minutes..

Croque Madame

(Shown below) Simply add a fried egg to the top of any Croque Monsieur, and you instantly have a Croque Madame!

In parts of Normandy the Croque Madame is known as a Croque-Cheval [horse].

The traditional French food Croque Madame is actually just a Croque Monsieur with a fried egg on top.

The Food of France : Where did the name Croque Monsieur come from?

I haven’t been able to find the exact origin of the name, but the first word – Croque – is from the verb “croquer” (to crunch or eat something crunchy). I did discover that the first recorded appearance of a Croque Monsieur on a Parisian cafe menu was around 1910.

It began life in France as a fast-food snack served in cafes. If the Croque Monsieur is topped with a fried egg it is called a Croque Madame – some say because it resembled the shape of a lady’s hat, but I’m not 100% sure about that.

More typical French food Croque Monsieur options

Finding a more traditional French food Croque Monsieur is difficult - add an egg for a Croque Madame.
  • croque provencal (with tomato)
  • croque auvergnat (with bleu d’Auvergne cheese)
  • croque norvegien (with smoked salmon instead of ham)
  • croque pizza (with tomato sauce)
  • croque tartiflette (with sliced potatoes)
  • croque hawaii (with pineapple)

In the photos you can see the crisp salad with a wee bit of dressing – generally just oil, vinegar and perhaps a dash of grainy mustard. The salad is important in the French diet and is served with the majority of meals.

OK – so now it’s time to step outside your hotel room and go sample some typical French food Croque Monsieur or Croque Madame;  be warned, you may need to sample a few in different bars and cafes to get a good idea of whether you like them. :-)

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