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Playing Rachael's Chicken Paillard Croque Madame with Asparagus

Rach's protein-packed riff on the ooey-gooey classic French sandwich delivers the same cheesy goodness but minus the gluten.  


  • Salt
  • 1 bunch thin asparagus, trimmed of tough ends
  • 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts—butterflied by cutting across but not through the breast, opened up, and lightly pounded to ¼-inch thick
  • Black pepper
  • About 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter, plus a pat or 2 for the eggs
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1½ teaspoons flour or gluten-free flour
  • 1½ cups milk
  • Freshly grated or ground nutmeg
  • White pepper
  • About ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 8 thin slices mild cooked ham
  • 1 to 1½ cups shredded Gruyere
  • 4 large eggs


Serves: 4


Prepare a large bowl of ice water. In a large skillet, bring a couple of inches of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the asparagus. Cook until crisp-tender, 2-3 minutes. Add to the ice water and let cool. Drain and pat dry.

Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and herbes de Provence. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon oil, one turn of the pan. Add 2 pieces of chicken. Cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and chicken.

In a saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking often, until the flour is absorbed, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk. Cook, whisking often, until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Season the béchamel sauce with salt, nutmeg, and white pepper. Reduce heat to low.

Switch on the broiler.

Spread each piece of chicken with a layer of Dijon. Top with the ham, asparagus, béchamel sauce, and Gruyere.

Broil until browned and bubbly, 2 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, melt the remaining pat or 2 of butter over medium. Crack in the eggs; season. Cook until the whites are just set, about 3 minutes.

Top each piece of chicken with an egg.

From Rachael Ray Every Day, May 2018.

French Onion Croque Madame