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Sandwich of the Week: Le Bilboquet’s Le Croque Monsieur

Sandwich of the Week: Le Bilboquet’s Le Croque Monsieur


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Le Bilboquet’s croque monsieur.

Le Bilboquet has been pleasing diners’ palates for nearly 30 years with their classic French fare. Now, in addition to the Upper East Side location, the global sensation has opened outposts in São Paulo, Dallas, and Atlanta, with plans for more in the future. Serving signature dishes and newly inspired classics to chic locals and travelers alike, the restaurant has become a destination for its high-end and fanciful weekend brunch.

Served at all their locations, the Riviera-inspired, Champagne-laden brunch features dishes such as poached eggs with Hollandaise sauce, Canadian bacon, and an English muffin and crêpes with a caramelized blend of fresh orange juice and Grand Marnier. Every menu item is a classic French delight, and that includes their signature croque monsieur.

Ham and Gruyère are layered between fresh pieces of brioche bread before being topped with béchamel and grilled so that a layered of crispy, gooey cheese adheres to the outside. It's all served with a side of fries and a small salad.

To chef Julien Jouhannaud, adding this classic dish to Le Bilboquet’s brunch menu was an obvious choice. He knows that brunch should be a decadent affair, and serves "a classic le croquet monsieur — or a French ham and cheese sandwich, covered in a cheesy béchamel — but a sizable portion compared to other French restaurants to offer our guests a plentiful dish." We always love a chef who understands what his clientele are looking for and gives it to them, which is why chef Jouhannaud’s le croquet monsieur is this week’s Sandwich of the Week.


Recipe Summary

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for bread
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese, plus 8 slices
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 thick slices rustic bread
  • 12 slices ham
  • Dijon mustard, for bread

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Add milk bring to a simmer. Cook, whisking frequently, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add grated cheeses. Whisk until melted and smooth.

Butter bread. Arrange half the slices, buttered side down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Top each with 2 slices Gruyere and 3 slices ham. Spread mustard onto unbuttered sides of remaining bread. Place on top of ham, buttered side up.

Preheat broiler. Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium heat. Cook each sandwich until golden brown and cheese melts, about 5 minutes per side. Return to baking sheet. Spoon 1/3 cup sauce over top of each sandwich. Broil until tops are bubbling and golden brown, about 3 minutes.


Recipe Summary

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for spreading, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 slices rustic French or firm white sandwich bread
  • 1/4 cup Dijon or whole-grain mustard
  • 1/2 pound cooked ham, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 pound Gruyere cheese, thinly sliced, plus 1 cup freshly grated (about 2 ounces)

Make bechamel sauce: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until just starting to bubble. Add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, until smooth but not browned, about 3 minutes.

Whisking constantly, slowly add milk continue cooking while whisking until mixture has thickened, about 3 minutes more. Remove from heat, and add salt, nutmeg, cayenne, and black pepper. Transfer to a bowl place plastic wrap directly on surface of sauce, and set aside.

Heat broiler. Heat a griddle or large cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Smear one side of bread slices with mustard. Top 4 slices with a layer each of ham and cheese cover with remaining 4 bread slices, pressing gently to adhere. Generously butter outer sides, spreading it all the way to the edges.

Place sandwiches on griddle or in skillet. Cook until golden brown and cheese has melted, 3 to 4 minutes a side. Transfer to work surface divide bechamel sauce evenly over tops, spreading to edges sprinkle with grated cheese.

Transfer to broiler, and cook until topping is melted and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.


Restaurant Review: Le Bilboquet

Bonjour! Today we are going to France for the day! Just kidding but that’s how you feel when you walk into Le Bilboquet at the The Shops Buckhead Atlanta. From the minute you walk in you are taken back by the beauty of this French restaurant.

Open daily for lunch and dinner, the bistro and bar offers a vibrant atmosphere paired with simple, classic French cooking, bringing a slice of Parisian café culture to the neighborhood and a natural gathering spot to enjoy a chilled bottle of rosé alfresco alongside classic bistro fare or a draft beer and croque monsieur at the bar. I was fortunate enough to try out this exquisite restaurant last week with my best friend Haley. We sat in the main dining area where the big windows allow you to enjoy the beautiful weather. Our lovely waitress recommended we try her favorite cocktail, the Tu Es Belle. Haley and I both ordered one and quickly saw why it was her favorite.

After enjoying our drinks and the warm bread, we ordered two of their most popular appetizers- Jumbo Lump Crab with Avocado and Corn + the Tuna Tartar. Both dishes were incredibly fresh and packed with flavors! My favorite was the crab because it sat on a bed of avocado.

Next we ordered our main entrees, the Classic Croque Madame Sandwich + Signature Cajun Chicken that came with Beurre Blanc and French Fries. The chicken was cooked to perfection- grilled out the outside, while staying moist and tender on the inside. The chicken was sitting on a Beurre Blanc, which was creamy and full of flavor. It was heavenly!

Lastly we went with the Apple Tartine and Profiteroles for dessert. Both were excellent but the ice cream that came with apple tartine was absolutely phenomenal! Even if you don’t have a lot of room left for dessert – I strongly recommend at least getting a scoop of their ice cream.

I can honestly tell you that Le Bilboquet is the best French restaurant I have tried in Atlanta. I have a slight obsession with French food so I’ve had my fair share of it. Le Bilboquet takes pride in providing you with an authentic experience of French cuisine. I was very happy with my experience and will continue to recommend it to all my friends.

Whether you are looking for a beautiful, delicatable place to have lunch with the girls or you are looking for a romantic place to take your love- Le Bilboquet will never disappoint.


Method

This could not be simpler.

On one slice of the buttered bread, spread half the grated Gruyère, then cover that with the slices of ham, folding them if need be to fit the size of the bread. Now sprinkle the rest of the Gruyère on top of the ham, season, then press the other slice of bread on top of that and press it down very firmly. You can at this stage cut off the crusts, but I think they add extra crunchiness.

Now brush half the melted butter on the top side of the sandwich, sprinkle it with half the Parmesan and press it in. Now transfer the sandwich to the grill pan and grill it for about 2 minutes, 2 inches (5 cm) from the heat. When it's golden brown, turn it over, brush the other side with the remaining melted butter, sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan all over and grill for another 2 minutes. Then remove it from the grill, cut it into quarters and eat it while it's still crunchy.

Why not make your own white bread, see Delia's Cookery School Video on this page


Recipe Summary

  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fig jam
  • 8 slices best-quality white bread
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces fontina, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces sliced ham
  • Unsalted butter, room temperature, for brushing
  • 1/4 cup grated Gruyere
  • Parmesan Bechamel

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with rack in bottom third. Blanch broccoli rabe in batches in a pot of salted boiling water until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add broccoli rabe cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Season with salt. Let cool slightly, then finely chop.

For each sandwich, spread 2 teaspoons jam on one bread slice and 1 teaspoon mustard on another. Layer one slice with cheese, broccoli rabe, and ham, dividing evenly. Close sandwich brush each side with butter.

Place the sandwiches on a baking sheet, top with 2 tablespoons bechamel and 1/4 cup grated Gruyere. Broil until golden brown and bubbling, about 10 minutes.


Orecchiette with Broccoli

I like to think that when I’m old, I will be able to look back on my life and see a succession of Sundays, like pearls strung together on a necklace. A highlight reel consisting of the meals we ate and the people with whom they were shared. Sunday is, after all, my favourite day, the highlight of my week, a day dedicated entirely to family and food, when meal preparations start early in the day and dinner lasts long into the evening. We spend almost every Sunday with family, a tradition that’s as old as I can remember. As a girl, our Sundays were spent with my grandparents my grandmother in the kitchen standing over a simmering pot, my grandfather in his vast garden, tending or harvesting the vegetables that would eventually make it onto our plates and into our stomachs. As kids, we flitted carefree between the two, picking up the basics of cooking and gardening simply by observance of both.


Recipe Summary

  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 long loaf rustic bread, such as ciabatta (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 pound sliced ham
  • 4 cups grated Gruyere cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in bottom third. Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Melt butter in another saucepan over medium heat add flour, whisk to combine, and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme, then gradually whisk in milk. Simmer bechamel 2 minutes, whisking. Remove from heat, and add 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Cut top crust off bread slice loaf in half horizontally. Fill sandwich with mustard, ham, and half the Gruyere. Toast on a baking sheet until cheese is melted and top is golden brown.

Remove from oven. Preheat broiler. Spread bechamel on top, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Broil until golden brown and bubbling, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven garnish with pepper and remaining thyme. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting.


Croque Monsieur is arguably one of the most popular sandwiches and can even be found in most McDonald’s in France on the menu as Le Croque McDo.

Simply put, the brunch classic is the French equivalent of the every delicious ham and cheese sandwich.

But unlike the loaded, layered deli treat the Croque Monsieur is usually made out of thin white bread, slender slices of ham and cheese, plus a generous amount of butter.

There is one myth about the origins of the dish that it was created by chance, when construction workers accidentally left their sandwiches on a radiator and found the melted ham and cheese combo made for a scrumptious lunch.

However, there is no evidence to support the story but it is a wonderful tale if ever there was one.

Croque Monsieur first appeared on Parisian café menus in 1910, with Le Trou dans le Mur (The Hole in the Wall) and the Café de la Paix both claiming to be the first to serve the sandwich.

Regardless of which cafe invented the deli, the Croque Monsieur became an instant hit.


Plate & Cork: Blue Provence a French gourmand's dream in Palm Beach

Waves of French gastronomy, in the form of La Goulue and Le Bilboquet, recently arrived on our shores, rekindling nostalgia for Escoffier&rsquos greatest hits.

If your memories of Paris recall visits to Fauchon, Hediard and Bon Marche&rsquos food court, a visit to Blue Provence will take you back to those days. This island épicerie is celebrating its 20th season, and business is booming.

The shop is a family affair, run by Martine and Thierry Miroir and their daughter, Charlotte. Chef-in-residence Loic Thomas prepares daily selections of baked goods &mdash croissants, pain au chocolate, fruit tarts, macarons, scones &mdash soups, quiche, entrees to-go and caters private events. His style is traditional fare with a modern, artistic touch.

Baguettes are baked daily. Kilo rounds of the famous Pain Poilâne are delivered twice per week. These iconic loaves, baked in wood-fired ovens, are made from sourdough starter, stone-ground wheat flour, water and salt in the Paris bakery. There also are loaves of Poilâne&rsquos walnut bread and raisin bread.

To go with the bread, the cheese case offers an impressive selection of the greatest hits from France, Italy and England. These include a buffalo milk cheese with black summer truffles, Cantal, Comte, Epoisses, Morbier, Mimolette, Saint-Nectaire, Brie, truffled Brie, Stilton, Parmigiano-Reggiano and a variety of individual goat cheeses. Selections are cut to order and priced from $9 for individual cheeses to $45 per pound.

The refrigerated gourmet case is always filled with delightful surprises. There are several varieties of caviar, mini buckwheat blinis, crème fraiche and sweet butter. Plus terrines of house-made foie gras, country pates, Parma ham, pata negra sausage, boudin noir and boudin blanc, lamb merguez and rillettes.

Grocery items include cornichon, snails, tuna in olive oil, sardines, tubes of mayonnaise, Bearnaise, aioli, mustards, jams, herbs de Provence, dried morels and bags of lavender blossoms, and lavender honey is sold by the kilo.

Sandwiches, including the famous croque monsieur, are made to order in the front of the store. The to-go case has soups, the most popular being carrot ginger and potato leek.

Entrée choices change daily and include a protein, starch, a vegetable and start at $30. Quiche choices are classic Lorraine, spinach, ratatouille, cheese and mushroom with shallots. Each quiche serves six, and prices are $35 to $45.

Cheese and charcuterie platters are made to order and start at $20.

There also is a well-curated selection of French wines, mostly from Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne.

Half of the shop is dedicated to the art of the table. Shelves are packed with colorful linens, flatware, hand-painted serving pieces, hand-blown glassware, scented candles and gift items.


Watch the video: Croque Madame.


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