Croque Monsieur-Style Monte Cristo Croutons with Frisee Salad and Shallot Vinaigrette

Add a French flair to a Mother’s Day brunch with this special sandwich and salad, and celebrate the day with a toast or two with a French 75.


  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons grated shallot
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large heart of romaine lettuce, cleaned and sliced 3/4-inch thick
  • 1 large head or 2 small heads frisee lettuce
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 rounded tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk, divided
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 slices good-quality white bread
  • 8 slices Gruyère cheese
  • 8 slices baked ham
  • 3 whole eggs


Pre-heat a griddle pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat.

In a small bowl, whisk together the marmalade, shallot, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and vinegar. Add the EVOO in a slow stream, while whisking, then season the dressing with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Combine the romaine with the frisee on large platter or in a shallow bowl.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a saucepot over medium heat, then whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in 1 1/3 cups milk and cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg, to taste. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons mustard and turn off the heat.

Spread four slices of bread with the white sauce and top each with a slice of cheese, two slices of folded ham and another slice of cheese. Spread the remaining bread with the sauce and cover the sandwiches. Trim the crusts, if you prefer, then quarter the sandwiches.

In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs with the remaining milk and dip the sandwiches in the batter as you add them to the griddle. Wipe the griddle with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter nested in a paper towel before you start adding the sandwiches. Griddle the sandwiches until deep golden in color, about 2-3 minutes on each side.

Toss the salad with the dressing and divide it among four plates. Arrange four Croque Monsieur-Style Monte Cristo Croutons on top of each salad and serve.

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