I’ve had a number of croque-monsieur sandwiches, hot ham and cheese, in the past, and just a few weeks ago, a croque-madame, which is the same but with a fried or poached egg on top. There are dozens of variations, including one by famed chef Jacques Pepin which includes chicken instead of ham. These sandwiches are all very similar to that of a typical grilled cheese, just with meat or other variants.
A few days ago, when trying to decide what I wanted for lunch, I opted to make a grilled cheese with arugula and top it with a fried egg. I decided I’d call it a grilled cheese madame, which is really just a vegetarian croque-madame. The arugula gave the sandwich a nice bite with the peppery leaves instead with the cheese. A runny yolk with crispy bread and cheese, how can you go wrong?
I give the recipe below for a single grilled cheese with arugula and the basic way to make a fried egg. You could easily add bacon, ham, swap cheeses, you name it.
Makes 1 sandwich
2 slices whole grain bread
2 slices low-fat provolone cheese
1 tablespoon butter, divided in half
6-10 leaves arugula
Heat a non-stick pan over medium-heat and add half the butter. Spread butter around about the size of the slice of bread.
While heating, top first slice of bread with one piece cheese, then arugula, and another slice of cheese. Top with second slice of bread.
Place sandwich on hot butter and let cook about 2-3 minutes, until bread is brown and toasted. Remove from pan and then add second half of the butter. Once melted (should only take a few seconds) put sandwich back in pan, uncooked side down. Cook an addition 2-3 minutes, until toasted. Remove from pan and set aside.
1 egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
In a second, small, non stick pan, heat over medium-high heat. Let heat for 2 minutes and then add butter. Swirl to coat pan. Crack egg into pan and walk away. Let egg cook for about 3-4 minutes. You want the edges of the egg white to begin curling and getting crisp. If the edges are cooked before the center white, cover pan for about 30 second to a minute.** Serve on top of grilled cheese.
** Typically you want to serve the egg sunny side up, where only one side of the yolk is cooked. In my case, I flipped it over for about 30 seconds, turning it into an egg over-easy.