A note to the French food purists… click away now.
For everyone else, this one is a beauty. I’m all for people bastardising recipes if the results are anything like this dish. This little beauty is what you get when you take a French technique and replace the two leading ingredients with something Italian and Spanish. Its a little kooky, a LOT tasty and super flavourful. But be warned: it is super indulgent and very addictive.
This dish was borne out of the great Simon Johnson warehouse sale shop of 2013 which also brought you the Valrhona Chocolate Cake. Belly rumbles and I went halves in a few glorious cheeses that day which included this spectacular 12 month aged Manchego cheese. It is firm, compact, buttery, and glorious when melted. Like Parmigiano Reggiano cheese from Parma in Italy, Manchego can only be called such when it is made in the La Mancha region in Spain.
I was led to the Croque Monsieur because after eating a few slices of the Manchego, all I wanted to do with it was make a toasted sandwich – hence the inter-European croque monsieur was born.
I quickly realised ham wasn’t going to cut it in this croque monsieur – this beauty needed something a little more powerful to hold its own next to the manchego – so I went with my old salty mate prosciutto. After buying some spectacular prosciutto from my favourite Italian butcher and grabbing a spectacular tiger loaf from the bakery. I set about making myself possibly the best toasted sandwich I have ever eaten.
Prosciutto and Manchego Croque Monsieur
Hand cut slices of fresh bread (I used a tiger loaf)
Unsalted butter at room temperature
A few slices of Manchego cheese
2 thin slices of Prosciutto
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon grated Manchego cheese
Preheat the grill of your oven.
Take two slices of bread and butter liberally. On one slice place a layer of Manchego cheese then top with the prosciutto and another layer of Manchego cheese.
In a small bowl place the egg yolk and milk and mix well. Then add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
Place the slice of bread with manchego and prosciutto under the grill until the manchego has melted. Remove from grill and top with the remaining slice of bread. Then pour the egg yolk mixture on top of the bread and sprinkle with grated Manchego. Pop back under the grill until the cheese on top is melted and golden. Eat immediately.