Baked Croque Madame

Nostalgic, Hearty, Decadent
Thick-cut bread
Dijon mustard
Whole milk
Gruyère cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch casserole
Lay 12 square pieces of thick-cut bread (such as Texas Toast)
on a sheet pan. Use a cookie cutter to cut a 2-inch circle
through 6 of the pieces of bread. Toast all 12 pieces of bread
in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are
golden. Set aside. Grate 3 cups of Gruyère cheese and set
To make the cheese sauce, in a saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons
of butter over medium heat, add ¼ cup flour, and mix well.
Whisk in 3 cups of whole milk and bring to a boil. Lower the
heat, add a pinch of nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of
black pepper, and cook until the mixture becomes thick. Fold
in 1 cup of the grated Gruyère cheese and stir until melted.
Ladle 1 cup of the cheese sauce into the casserole dish. Divide
¼ cup Dijon mustard and 12 pieces of thinly sliced ham evenly
over the 6 uncut pieces of bread; place the pieces in the
casserole dish. Ladle in 1 cup of the cheese sauce, followed by
1 cup of the grated Gruyère cheese. Top with the remaining 6
slices of bread with the holes cut out. Drizzle the remaining
cheese sauce over the top and sprinkle the remaining grated
Gruyère cheese on top, avoiding the holes.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven, scoop out any hole that the cheese sauce
may have settled in, and carefully crack 6 eggs, one into each
hole in the bread pieces.
Return to the oven and bake uncovered for another 12 to 14
minutes, until the egg whites are just set and the edges of the
bread are golden. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes to get the edges
brown; let the casserole sit briefly before serving.

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