Brunch Rush! Croque Monsieur Frittata

Make brunch for a crowd a breeze with this hearty frittata inspired by the classic French croque monsieur - complete with a cheesy sauce.

A croque monsieur is pretty much the perfect brunch food. It’s hearty. It’s crispy. It’s covered in cheese sauce. Its one Achilles heel, however, is how time-consuming it can be to prepare. If you’re making just two or four, it’s not so bad. But what happens when you’re cooking for eight or 10 people? The inclination to stand over a stove and griddle sandwiches for the better part of the morning suddenly seems a far less appealing proposition.

Instead, let’s take all of those delicious flavors and bake them into a frittata. A frittata covered with cheese sauce. That sounds nice, doesn’t it?

If you’re one of those people who seem to always have a small army in their house over the holidays, you can get a little ahead of the game by making the sauce up to two days ahead of time and stashing it away in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve, warm it up over low heat and thin it out with a splash of milk if needed.

Croque Monsieur Frittata
Total Time: 25 min
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 20 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Level: Easy
For the frittata:
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
1/4 pound baked ham, chopped
12 large eggs
1/4 cup milk or half-and-half
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
6 slices sourdough bread
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Few grates fresh nutmeg
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt and ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a medium (10-inch) nonstick, oven-safe saute pan over medium heat with the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Add the ham and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk together the eggs, milk and some salt and pepper. Add the eggs and begin to lightly scramble them. Using a rubber spatula, scrape any cooked egg off from the edge of the pan and up from the bottom of the pan, allowing any raw egg to run into its place. Cook until the egg has set around the edges but is still raw in the middle, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

While the eggs are scrambling, butter the sourdough bread with the remaining softened butter. Cut each slice in half on a diagonal to make 12 triangles. Once the eggs have been removed from the heat, sprinkle the cheese evenly over the surface. Shingle the sliced bread over the top of the cheese with all of the points facing the middle. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the eggs are set and bread is toasted, about 10 minutes.

While the frittata is baking, prepare the sauce. Place a pot over medium heat with the butter. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and bring the liquid up to a bubble. Simmer the sauce until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the cheeses, nutmeg, mustard and some salt and pepper. Reserve warm.

To serve, invert the frittata onto a serving plate and cut into wedges. Garnish the wedges with a spoonful of the cheese sauce.

Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Marc Forgione and Bobby Deen, he’s now the Digital Content Manager for FoodNetwork.com, CookingChannelTV.com and Food.com in NYC by day and develops recipes at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following him on Instagram or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.

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