Food

French Michelin-Star Chef Recipes for Lockdown: Éric Frechon’s Scrumptious Ham and Cheese Croque-Monsieur

by Rooksana Hossenally
Left: A slice of Eric Frechon's delicious ham and cheese croque monsieur has been sliced and prepared to be served; underneath it are a knife and more croque monsieurs. Right: A black and white photo of Michelin-Star chef Eric Frechon, smiling in a restaurant kitchen.
Top: Christopher Jolly / Above: Eric Frechon

Serving
4 people 

Time
Preparation: 30 minutes 
Cooking: 15 minutes

Ingredients*:
750 ml (3 cups) whole milk
400 ml (1 ½ cups) heavy cream
150g ( ½ cup) polenta 
4 slices ham (jambon de Paris if you can find it)
200g – (just shy of ½ lb.) Emmental cheese
4 slices sandwich bread
4 knobs butter (for grilling)
Salt and pepper to taste

*Note: This recipe was prepared for European measurements (grams and ml). We have added in approximate equivalents in ounces and cups.

Left: A headshot of Michelin-Star check Eric Frechon; he wear a chef's jacket and is standing in front of a green curtain with a shadow cast over the left side of his face. Right: A neon sign is illuminated, the words of the sign read "Eat What Makes You Happy"
Eric Frechon / Jon Tyson

Instructions:
• Cut eight slices of the Emmental cheese, preferably 10 x 10 cm (4×4 in) squares that are 3 mm (a bit less than 1/8 in) thick.
• Remove the bread crusts and then mix the crust crumbs with a mixer to obtain fine bread crumbs.
• Preheat the oven to 160°C (320° F).
• In a saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.
• Once boiling, sprinkle in the semolina while stirring continuously and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring often to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan, and adding cream from time to time.
• Once cooked, spread the polenta on a baking sheet in a 1 cm-thick (1/4 in) layer, then leave to cool in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes until the polenta takes on a firmer consistency.
• Cut the polenta into 12 10 x 10 cm (4×4 in) squares.
• On a baking sheet, place 4 polenta squares side by side.
• Top with a square of Emmental cheese and a square of ham.
• Place a square of polenta on top.
• Then repeat again, placing a square of Emmental and ham. Finish with a square of polenta.
• Top with breadcrumbs and a knob of butter.
• Put in the oven and reheat for 15 minutes so that it is hot at heart and the cheese is melted.
• Finally grill each croque-monsieur for 30 seconds  or so to give them color. And serve!

Eric Frechon’s pro tip:
The best way to serve this croque-monsieur is with a nutmeg cream, a Parmesan cream, or a lettuce coulis to bring out the flavor of the ingredients. 

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Written by Rooksana Hossenally for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a  fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.

Written By

Rooksana Hossenally

Originally from London, Rooksana moved to Paris for what was supposed to be six months - it's now been 12 years. A freelance journalist, she's contributed to many publications from the New York Times, Forbes, and BBC Travel to Condé Nast Traveller and the Guardian. She's headed up several print and online travel and culture magazines, and has worked with brands from L'Oréal to Glamour Magazine optimizing their online platforms. When not working, Rooksana's scouring the city for new creative pockets, hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurants, and procrastinating about the book she's meant to be writing. View Rooksana Hossenally's Website

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