4 February 2018

Hammige In our house, the croque monsieur is known as the mighty ``hammige’‘. Ingredients matter when it comes to hammige quality: the finest are made with leftover Christmas ham and extremely stinky, unpasteurised gruyère.

  • For two hammiges:
    Four slices of bread, ideally sourdough
    130 g sliced ham
    100 g gruyère, or a similar cheese (e.g., emmenthal)
    Dijon mustard
  • For the béchamel sauce:
    25 g butter
    20 g flour
    200 ml milk
    Freshly grated nutmeg, salt, and black pepper
  • Heat the oven to 250°C, fan forced, and place a baking tray near the top.
  • First, make the béchamel sauce: melt the butter over a medium heat, then when it starts to sizzle dump in the flour and cook for a minute or two, whisking constantly. Add the milk a little at a time, whisking between additions and waiting until the sauce becomes thick and smooth. Once all the milk is incorporated, bring the sauce to the boil for a few seconds, then remove from the heat and whisk in the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  • Butter two slices of bread on one side; these will be the bottoms of the hammiges. Turn the bottom slices butter-side down and smear the other side with mustard and a good dollop of béchamel sauce.
  • With the remaining bread slices, on one side spread mustard and béchamel, plus some thinly sliced gruyère (I do this with a vegetable peeler) followed by the ham. Press the bread slices together with the ham, béchamel, mustard, and cheese in the middle. Turn the hammiges butter-side down, and smear the tops with the remaining béchamel sauce and gruyère.
  • Place the hammiges – cheese-side up, butter-side down – on the hot baking tray and cook near the top of the oven for around 15 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown. I suggest cutting your hammige into quarters before eating, as the inside will be extremely hot!