My modern sweet and creamy take on the classic croque-madame.

The croque-madame is probably the king queen of all sandwiches (excluding, of course, hamburgers, Texas pulled pork sandwiches, Smørrebrød, Philly cheesesteak from that deli I stumble into after trivia night at the Brooklyn Tavern, any version of the hotdog, taco, or burrito, or Po’ boys).  Ok, so, it’s not the king queen per say, but it’s up there — like, the thing has egg and cheese on the outside — those qualities do not go unnoticed in my rankings.  (wait!! Bánh mì!  How did I forget Bánh mì!?  Can I go back and change my answer?)  Nevertheless, I always think a classic can be improved upon.  My inspiration for this “twist” on a classic comes from one of my favorite things to bring to or serve at a party.  Baked Brie with fig preserves and slivered almonds.  There isn’t a soul on this earth who doesn’t absolutely love to dig a cracker into the buttery crust of a chunk of molten cheese (except maybe vegans and the lactose-intolerant, who can just stop reading now, you aren’t, and I say this with all due respect, my “audience”).  So I took the Gruyère out of the inside of the traditional croque-madame recipe and replaced it with a creamy brie, spread on some fig preserves, and spent some otherwise productive time thinking of a name for it.

Brie and Fig Croque-Madam (Croque-Mademoiselle):

makes four sandwiches

8 slices of bread
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/12 cups milk
4 tablespoons fig preserves
12 oz. Brie, sliced
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 slices baked ham
2 tablespoons olive oil

In a saucepan, heat the butter and whisk in the flour to create a roux.  Add the milk and turn up the heat (do not boil) while whisking in the Parmesan cheese until you have a thick sauce (add more milk or flour to adjust the thickness, it should be the consistency of school glue, yummm).  Butter one side of each slice of bread and heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high.  On four of the slices (work on parchment or wax paper or this can get messy) spread the Dijon mustard and some cheese sauce on the non-buttered side of the bread (you’ll want to use a little more than half of the cheese sauce).  On the remaining four slices, spread a tablespoon of the fig preserves (again, on the non-buttered side).  Assemble the sandwiches with a cheese-bread slice, a fig-bread slice, ham and Brie.  Grill the sandwiches in a tablespoon of oil (or butter) in the cast iron skillet until each side is golden brown and crunchy.  Set aside the grilled sandwiches on a baking sheet and turn on your oven to the high broiler setting.  Gently cook four sunny side up eggs, which can be underdone, if you like a runny yolk.  Place a dollop of the cheese sauce on the top of the sandwiches, and gently slide the egg on top.  Brush any remaining cheese sauce on the top of the eggs.  Broil the sandwiches for 1-2 minutes.  Serve with a fork and knife.  I served mine accompanied by a broccoli-pea bisque.