Like a lot of people, I had never heard of croque-monsieurs until the recent box office hit “It’s Complicated” with Meryl Streep. For those of you who still don’t know what i’m talking about, I’ll save you a wikipedia visit. A croque-mosieur is a french version of a ham and cheese sandwich–but much, much better. After making a regular ham and cheese sandwich (using good cheese, as the French do), the french also add a creamy, cheesy béchamel sauce on top and bake it until the cheese melts all over the sandwich. As you can imagine, after a croque-monsieur, a regular sandwich will never be the same.
Similar things can be said about the Italian panini. Which sandwich is better? I don’t like to play favorites, so I decided to combine the two and have the best of both worlds: a grilled veggie sandwich smothered with hot bubbly cheese…yum!
This panini was made by using whatever I had on hand, and it was still extremely tasty. Inside the panini I used pesto and artichoke spread, grilled zucchini, purple potatoes, red onion, tomatoes, spinach and gouda cheese. I grilled the panini and added the creamy cheesy béchamel sauce, made with mozzarella, parmesan and blue cheese. The only thing that could have made this panini better would be to add feta cheese inside. Definitively next time.
I served this with a light summer salad made with tomatoes, strawberries, grapefruit, avocado and mint. The dressing was balsamic vinegar with a bit of olive oil. Perfect company to the perfect sandwich.
- Your favorite bread
- Spread: pesto and artichoke tappenade
- Veggies: zucchini, purple potato, tomato, red onion, spinach
- Cheese: gruyere, but feta would have been delicious!
- Bechamel sauce (below)
Step 1 Directions: Slice veggies and cook. Spread pesto to one bread, and artichoke tappenade on the other. Top with veggies and cheese. Place sandwich on panini maker or on grill.
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp flour
- 1/2 c. milk
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
- 1/2 c. cheese (I used mozzarella, but you can use provolone, swiss, gruyere, fontina, etc)
- Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg
- Optional: I also added a bit of blue cheese which added a lot of great flavor
Step 2 Directions: melt butter, add flour and cook for 1 minute. Add milk and cheese. Cook until cheese melts and sauce thickens.
Step 3 Directions: Turn on oven to 450 degrees. Add bechamele sauce to top of panini and top with a bit of shredded cheese. Place in oven and bake for 5 minutes. Turn on broiler and bake for another 3-4 minutes. Serve with a light side salad.
Assembling the Paninis….
Croque-Monsieur Veggie Panini