French Onion Croque Monsieur or Madame

Aired November 1, 2010

Serves Serves 4
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 large sweet onions, sliced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
Salt and pepper
Splash dry sherry or brandy
4 thick slices (about 3/4 to an inch) good quality, freshly baked white bread
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup of milk
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 rounded tablespoon Dijon mustard
8 to 10 ounces Gruyre cheese, grated
4 large eggs, optional

In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add onions, bay, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook to caramel in color and very soft, 25-30 minutes. Deglaze pan with sherry or brandy.

When onions are super soft and sweet -- but a few minutes shy of perfection -- begin your bchamel and preheat oven to 375F. Organize bread slices on a small baking sheet. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in small pan. Whisk in flour, cook1 minute then whisk in milk. Thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and remove from heat. Stir in Dijon.

Spread sauce evenly over bread slices and cover with onions and cheese. Bake 8-10 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Serve as-is or top with an egg cooked up, over-easy to over-hard. Serve with a simple green salad and vinaigrette or a small offering of your favorite fruit alongside.

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