To be honest, when I first saw this in my Trader Joe’s a couple of months ago I was quite surprised! This seems like it would be very hard to make and do it right but I think Trader Joe’s (or Trader Jacques) pulled it off this time!
Let’s back up and examine what we have here. In Paris, as staple of the bistro scene there is a sandwich called Croque-Monsieur which is basically a fancy grilled ham and cheese sandwich. The sandwich is typically made with ham and some type of swiss-like cheese, maybe Emmentaler or Gruyere (although I’m sure the French would never use Swiss cheese in Paris, too many excellent French cheeses to use).
I’ve been to Paris a couple of times and while you can get a bad meal there, the typical bistro offers up a pretty decent meal even in the most touristy of areas (if a little on the expensive side). The key to making an excellent croque-monsieur is the ingredients. Make sure you have the best bread, cheese, ham and you’ll have a winner. There is a really good Parisian bistro style restaurant here in downtown Seattle called Cafe Campange and they make the best croque-monsieur I’ve had, even in Paris! There is a variation called the Croque-Madame which is basically the same thing with an egg on top!
So anyway, when I saw this it looked really good and putting it in a croissant I thought was an extra that was worth exploring. Typically of all the croque-monsiuer sandwiches I’ve had is that they melt some cheese on top under a broiler this looks very similar.
The only preparation method for this sandwich is to bake it in the oven for like 20 minutes with a little thawing in the microwave before you stick it in the oven. This is a calorie and fat bomb, so if that is something you are closely watching, this sandwich is NOT for you. You get almost a whole day’s worth of saturated fat in one sandwich!
I prepared by the directions in the oven and it came out smelling of melted swiss cheese and a bit of baked croissant. It smelled great! I let it rest for a couple of minutes. By this time I have about 35 minutes into this sandwich, which is a little over extravagant. It’s a fairly big sandwich even for me. I cut into it and the cheese was starting to ooze out and I could see the ham in there.
Let me digress a bit, as I mentioned the French would probably never use Swiss cheese and German ham so for authenticity, this is not authentic in that way, but I think the cheeses and choice of meats are similar enough to what would be used by an authentic French bistro that it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference.
So how did it taste? It was pretty good, but not great. I really like the croissant and the cheese. The ham was a little too smokey for me. It is a mouthful so you might just opt for a fork and knife to eat it instead of picking it up and that would be an authentic way of eating it!
Like I said, it was decent but not great so I am going to rate this 7 Bells!