Giving classic recipes the “My Daddy Cooks” treatment is one of the things I most enjoy doing on this blog and I have been meaning to do an easy, oven-baked croque monsieur on the blog for some time.
It took a little bit of thought though to speed up the preparation, take out the need to make a white sauce and fry the toast. With apologies to my traditionalist French friends, I came up with this version, where the preparation involves no hob heat at all – ideal for cooking lunch with Archie. Crème fraiche replaces the white sauce – and the oven replaces the frying pan.
And do you know what? It was every bit as good as the traditional fried croque monsieur. In fact, my wife Jo, who is the most discerning of critics in her advanced stages of pregnancy, said that the one we made for her when she came back from work was the best she had ever eaten. Flattering and probably a slight exaggeration but there is no doubt that this no-fuss, extremely moist and disturbingly moreish version of a classic dish is now a definite winner in our house.
Makes 2 large croques
Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes
Pre-heat your oven to 180C/ 350F/ Gas Mark 5
4 thick slices of fresh white bread
150ml crème fraiche (we used half-fat)
About 70g grated cheese (we used the cheddar we had in the fridge but you can use any flavoursome hard cheese)
2 slices ham
Salt and pepper to season
Optional dijon mustard