"It's very simple," Buthion said. "A nice piece of bread, in France perhaps brioche. We start with the sourdough bread. Then some ham and a sauce bechamel, which is flour, milk, white pepper and a little nutmeg. It's very creamy. Then top it with cheese. In France, some people use Gruyere; we use Swiss here. Then, we cook it in the broiler."
Sounds simple because it is. Take one bite, and you'll ask what other wonders might be found through simplicity.
The croque is a slice of balance: crisp and creamy, savory and a hint of sweet. Made in the kitchen of a chef such as Alain Buthion, the croque is a little work of art. Add fried eggs to this open-face mini masterpiece and you've got croque madame. The bistro also offers an Oklahomafied version with sausage and eggs on top.
La Baguette in Norman also carries the croque on its menu. Their croque sausage includes bacon, sausage, cheddar and Swiss with bechamel over sourdough.
Perhaps we have more in the common with the French than we suppose. We've got Fourth of July; they've got the Fourteenth of July. We had a tea party; they demanded cake (could've been tea cakes). Heck, they're even pretty good at basketball.
But just as French basketball is to the NBA, so is our humble grilled cheese to the croque monsieur.
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