I love books in general, cookbooks in a specific, and cookbooks from awesome far away places...Well. Giddy begins the explanation of my reaction to getting books as gifts.
A very dear friend of mine spent the holiday season in France. She, being a brilliant woman who knows me very well, got me a French cookbook.
I love it.
Thus far, I've made two recipes from it, and will be adding to the list as the year goes on, particularly since so many French recipes include sauces.
This evening, I made Croque Monsieur. Basically, this is the foofiest of grilled ham and cheese sandwiches ever.
Layer thin sliced ham, béchamel sauce, and grated cheese (emmental or gruyère, which I used) between two slices of white bread, dry fry in a pan.
Here's the sauce in the pan. The addition of Dijon mustard pairs this well with the ham.
The recipe said to put the ham directly on the bread, but I worried the ham, directly on bread, would prevent the sandwich from sticking together, so I slathered a bit of sauce in between.
Dry grilling (ie, pan fry, minus oil/butter/mayo) provides a lovely toasty color in addition to melting the cheese, thickening the béchamel into the bread. I prefer the vertical slice, Hubbin likes diagonal.
Pair with sliced apple, and you have a classic French fast-food meal!