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Playing French Onion Croque Monsieur or Madame


  • 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


Serves: 4


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.