Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Scalloped Croque Monsieur

Mr Wonderful's birthday was two days after Thanksgiving. His absolute favorite food is scalloped or au gratin potatoes, so I decided to make a variation by adding classic Croque Monsieur flavors: mustard and ham. In addition, we had a lovely salad with apples, candied pecans, bacon, caramelized balsamic onions, blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. And for dessert we had Tiramisu, another favorite of his.

Russet potatoes are an antioxidant-rich food, so this will be my submission for Sweetnicks' ARF/5-a-day roundup. Click the link to see more great recipes from food bloggers!

Scalloped Croque Monsieur
4 Tbsp butter
1/4 c flour
2 c milk
1 Tbsp good grainy mustard
1/4 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated, if possible)
1 1/2 c shredded Gruyere cheese (or other good swiss-type, like Emmenthal or Comte)
3 small russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
1/4 lb thinly sliced deli ham
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375.

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter starts to bubble slightly, add the flour and cook for a minute or two. Add the milk slowly, stirring or whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Raise the heat to high, and continue stirring constantly, until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove the sauce from the heat and add the mustard, nutmeg, salt & pepper (go easy on the salt; cheese is salty) and 1 cup of the shredded cheese.

In an 8" buttered baking dish, layer the potatoes, sauce and ham, starting with a little bit of sauce on the bottom, and ending with a bunch of sauce on top to make sure it's all covered. Sprinkle the casserole with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and the casserole is golden brown on top. Serves 2-3.

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