So yummy and easy to prepare and perfect for a quick lunch or to take on a picnic, croque-monsieur is an old-time French classic. Difficult to say how they came up with the name—which literally means: 'a bite, sir!'—we do know that it was first served in Paris, on the prestigious Boulevard des Capucines—the same Boulevard that was honoured with the Lumière brothers' first cinematographic presentation to an audience.
The traditional Parisian croque-monsieur is made with two slices of white bread, filled with a generous portion of ham and béchamel sauce, and topped with a whole lot of Gruyère cheese gratins.
Our yummy idea today is to refresh the concept with a modern and healthy twist, by replacing the béchamel with a generous spread of asparagus sauce, then upgrade the ham with prosciutto, add a few slices of tomatoes, and for the gratin, let's go for a nice Canadian cheddar cheese to crown our bread, which, of course, will be whole wheat or multigrain. What do you think of that? Spectacular, healthy, and delicious!
Have fun and be creative with your croque-monsieur. For example, you can use pesto sauce with some turkey and sliced tomatoes, topped with a good Parmesan cheese! Or sauce rosee, sliced sausage, arugula, and asiago for the gratin. The possibilities are endless.
Ingredients for the asparagus pesto & prosciutto croque-monsieur (4 people):
8 slices of whole wheat or multigrain bread
1 bunch of asparagus
2 tablespoons of olive oil
The zest of ½ a lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 slices of prosciutto
1 sliced tomato
2 cups of grated cheddar cheese
Cook the asparagus in boiling water for about 2 minutes, then soak in cold water to prevent them from losing their beautiful green colour.
Cut them in pieces and put them in a food processor with the olive oil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Process until it turns into a pesto-like paste.
Generously spread your asparagus pesto on a piece of toasted bread, add the prosciutto and tomato slices, and another piece of toasted bread.
Cover with the cheddar cheese and put it to broil until nice and gloden, about 5 minutes.