If you can make a grilled cheese sandwich, you can make Smoked Salmon Croque Monsieur. This is simply a fancy name. Typically, a croque monsieur is made with ham and cheese and topped with a cheese sauce called Mornay, which is a basic white sauce with grated cheese added. When you are served a good "Croque" you will be eating a rich and delicious sandwich. Not to be confused with a basic ham and cheese sandwich. I know it may seem I am getting a little fussy here, but there is a difference.
A smoked salmon croque is a modified version of the traditional French sandwich. This recipe is inspired by a recipe from Chef Eric Ripert in his book, A Return to Cooking. I often serve these as an appetizer for dinner parties. They are always a huge favorite. The sandwiches would also make a nice lunch served with a crisp green salad.
Smoked Salmon Croque Monsieur
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
8 slices thinly sliced white sandwich bread
8 ounces sliced smoked salmon
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
zest and juice of 1 lemon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Makes 4 sandwiches
Lay out the 8 bread slices. I use Pepperidge Farm sandwich bread. Evenly divide the grated cheese onto 4 of the bread slices. Place 2 ounce of smoked salmon onto the other 4 slices of bread. Sprinkle the chopped chives over the cheese; divide the lemon zest over the salmon along with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Close the sandwiches. Spread the softened butter on both outer sides of the sandwiches.
Heat a large skillet or griddle pan over medium-high heat. Place the sandwiches cheese side down and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Turn over the sandwiches, cooking this side until lightly browned. Remove from the pan to a cutting board. Cut the sandwiches in half on the diagonal, cut each half again diagonally to make triangles. Serve hot.