Summer Croqué Monsieur with Zucchini and Baby Heirlooms

Ever since we went to Tartine Bakery in San Fransisco, I have been obsessed with the Croqué Monsieur that I got to dive my fork into. It was a spin off of the traditional Croqué Madame (ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top) and it was to die for. It had a dreamy bechamel sauce, cheese stringing from every bite, decadent ham and topped with fresh asparagus. It definitely got my mind racing as to what I was going to whip up when I got home! This light, summer version is one of two recipes I dreamed up (second one coming soon) and I love the freshness of this sandwich that pairs oh-so-nicely with the richness of the bechamel sauce.

Let’s talk about versatility. You could put anything on a nice, thick slice of sourdough bread and top it with a creamy bechamel sauce and you are ready to go! And if this sandwich wasn’t great already, it can be done in under 30 minutes. Dinner or lunch on the table just like that.

Don’t stray away from the thought of making a homemade bechamel sauce! My version is quick, foolproof, and will have you feeling like a chef de cuisine in no time. I added mozzarella cheese to mine because it was all I had on hand, but gruyère would also be a wonderful pairing. The bechamel sauce also keeps very nicely in the fridge. It does become solid, but melts down nicely once heated. This recipe makes enough for leftovers! I used my leftover bechamel sauce to make version #2 of my Croqué Monsieur, and even had enough the third night to stir the remaining into some mac n cheese to take it to the next level.

It’s summertime and zucchini season is well underway! This recipe is a great way to let your fresh veggies shine, and it makes you feel healthier after you are done licking the spoon from the bechamel sauce that you just had to take one more taste of. Zucchini should be easy to find all year long, but you can never beat the taste of it when it is in season. If you can’t find baby heirloom tomatoes, feel free to substitute them for cherry tomatoes or any other small tomatoes of your liking. I love the mild flavor of the baby heirlooms and you just can’t pass up the color they give off! I mean, what’s better than a thick slice of bread topped off with delicious goodies and a cheese sauce? It’s like a summer picnic in a sandwich.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 round of sourdough bread
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 10 oz baby heirloom tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for coating the zucchini slices
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Goat cheese crumbles for topping

Directions: 

  1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat slightly. Whisk in the flour until a light brown rue has formed. Continue whisking and pour in the heavy cream. Whisk until the rue and heavy cream are combined.
  2. Add in the lemon juice, salt and pepper, mozzarella cheese and continue whisking. Bring the sauce to a very low boil, and then turn off the heat while still whisking. The sauce should thicken. Set aside.
  3. Preheat your broiler to high.
  4. In a medium bowl, lightly toss the zuchinni slices with olive oil, salt and pepper until all slices are covered evenly.
  5. Slice the sourdough bread round into 1-inch slices.
  6. To assemble your sandwiches, lay the sourdough bread slices on a baking sheet and add an even layer of bechamel sauce across the tops. Next, layer the zuchinni slices across the top of the bechamel sauce. Broil on the bottom rack for 3-5 minutes, and then broil on the top rack for 1-2 minutes, or until the edges and the zuchinni start to brown.
  7. Remove the sourdough slices from the broiler and top with the baby heirloom tomatoes and crumbled goat cheese.