Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
1/2 cup béchamel sauce
60 gms butter
60 gms all purpose flour
21/2 cups milk
30 gms parmesan cheese (grated)
3 slices brioche bread
4 slices ham (turkey, veal or chicken as preferred)
1/2 cup Gouda cheese
Fresh salad (mix of lettuce, spinach, soaked cherry tomatoes or as preferred)
To prepare bechamel (pronounce as bay-shuh-mel) sauce
1. In a pre-heated pan add butter and let it melt (be careful it is not hot, otherwise the butter will burn).
2. Add the flour and mix well. It will begin to form a paste, like a roux. Keep mixing to ensure the flour is cooked well.
3. Now, add milk to the paste. Using a whisk, mix the ingredients well and keep stirring to ensure the flour is cooking properly. As it cooks, the consistency will become thicker. Two special ingredients that Chef Caicedo uses are turkey ham and Gouda cheese.
4. Add parmesan cheese. This is the chef's secret ingredient as it adds saltiness without having to add salt. Mix them well until the cheese starts melting completely. If the consistency looks too thick, pour a little milk and mix. At this point, turn off off the flame, but keep whisking. The residual heat will keep cooking and melting the cheese.
To make croque madame
1. Take a freshly baked brioche (a French bread, and a cross between a pastry and bread). You can also use white or brown bread from your pantry. Brioche breads are excellent for sanwiches as they are soft and buttery.
2. Cut three slices from the brioche loaf or take 3 slices of the bread that you are using. Place them on a cutting board or a clean surface. Begin smearing the bechamel sauce on the bread, one at a time. Do not worry about the sauce spreading out, as it will get cooked in the oven.
3. Add gouda cheese on the bechamel smeared bread. Gouda cheese has a mild sweet and a slightly pungent flavour (aged Gouda cheese), which is why the chef uses it as her secret ingredient.
4. Add 2 slices of turkey ham or any other ham you are using atop two brioche slices. Do not add it on the third slice as that will go on top.
5. To glue the sandwich together, smear another layer of bechamel sauce, on top of the turkey ham slices.
6. Layer the bread one on top of the other.
7. It's time to place the bread in the oven. Bake at 180C and for 10 minutes, let the grated cheese melt.
8. Time to fry the eggs. While the sandwich is in the oven, heat a pan or iron griddle and using a round egg mould or ring, fry the eggs. If you do not have a mould, fry the eggs free style. You can season it with salt and pepper if you wish to.
Tip: To fry eggs, chef prefers brushing the griddle with oil instead of pouring it directly
9. After 10 minutes, remove the dish from the oven. Time to plate. Place the fresh garden salad and sandwich side by side. Gently place the fried egg, sunny side up, on the sandwich.
For the salad, you can pick any salad of your choice. Chef uses fresh mixed arugula, cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper, drizzled with some fruit olive oil. Greens not your style, tou can skip the salad altogether, if you wish to. However, the herbal pungency of the arugula helps lighten the flavours. Do try....
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