Croque madame is a variation of an excellent French classic, the croque monsieur, which has been served in France for over 100 years. A croque monsieur is a sandwich filled with grilled ham, Gruyère and Dijon mustard. After grilling, the sandwich is smothered with bechamel sauce, topped with more melted cheese and finally fried. It is easy to transform a croque monsieur into a croque madame. All you have to do is top the croque monsieur with a fried egg.
While promising on paper, croque madames can be disappointing if not executed correctly. Greasy, soggy versions of this iconic sandwich abound. When done well, the rich yolk marries perfectly with crusty bread and gooey cheese, resulting in an unparalleled, indulgent meal.
Fortunately, the croque madame is a French egg dish that has become well established in the United States. Great versions of it can be found in many American restaurants, including New York’s iconic French eatery, Balthazar.