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croque monsieur
Croque monsieur.jpg
Place of origin France
Type Sandwich
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredient(s) Bread, whipped eggs, butter, boiled ham, cheese (typically Emmental), pepper and salt
Variations croque madame

The croque monsieur (French pronunciation: ​[kʁɔk məsˈjøː]) is a baked or fried boiled ham and cheese sandwich. Traditionally made with (slightly sugared) Brioche-like bread pieces (pain de mie, not the usual white toast bread[note 1]), or with normal butter bread, but with a soft crust, topped with grated cheese of the same type, slightly salted and peppered. Instead of the butter bread, the bread is optionally "browned" (e.g. grilled) before and then dipped in whipped eggs, then the whole sandwich is finally baked in the oven (sophisticated café version), or fried in the fry pan (home version), but not ordinarily grilled (or then grilled in a particularly croque-monsieur-specific horizontal grill), so that the top cheese can melt over the bread's edges.[note 2][1][2]

It originated in French cafés and bars as a quick snack.

Traditionally, Emmental, or Gruyère is used, optionally Comté cheese as well.

A croque madame is the same but topped with a fried egg.

The name is based on the verb croquer ("to bite") and the word monsieur ("mister"). The sandwich's first recorded appearance on a Parisian café menu was in 1910.[3] Its earliest mention in literature appears to be in volume two of Proust's In Search of Lost Time in 1918.[4]


A croque monsieur served with a poached or lightly fried egg on top is known as a croque madame[5] (or in parts of Normandy a croque-à-cheval). Many dictionaries[who?] attribute the name to the egg resembling an old fashioned woman's hat. According to the Petit Robert dictionary, the name dates to around 1960. The name croque-mademoiselle is associated with its lighter, vegetarian version: made of the same bread, but with ordinary melting cheese, accompanied with chives, cucumber and salad.[1]

A ham and cheese sandwich snack, very similar to the croque-monsieur though not containing any béchamel or egg, is called a tosti in the Netherlands, and toast (pronounced "tost") in Italy and Greece. Similarly, in the United Kingdom a ham and cheese hot snack is called a 'toastie', and toastie makers are available to buy. In the United States, the Monte Cristo, a ham-and-cheese sandwich often dipped in egg and fried, is popular diner fare. A version of this sandwich in Spain replaces the ham with sobrassada, a soft sausage from the Balearic Islands that can be easily spread. In Catalonia it is known as a bikini.[6]

Versions of the sandwich with substitutions or additional ingredients are given names modelled on the original croque-monsieur, for example:

The noted French chef Jacques Pepin also makes a version using chicken instead of ham,[10] which he demonstrated in the "Our Favorite Sandwiches"[11] episode on the PBS series (and its coordinating cookbook of the same title) Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home in which he worked with Julia Child.

See also

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  1. Made with simple, squared toast bread, it would be a very cheap version of its original.
  2. The grilled version is a lost-in-translation by-product outside France since grillé means fried, but not grilled, and is considered a cheap version of it.


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  4. (French) Entry in the on-line Trésor de la langue française.
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  6. bikini « Iberianature
  7. 7.0 7.1 Croque Monsieur Recipes – History of the Croque Monsieur
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  9. Croque Norvegien |
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