Croque Monsieur

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot 2% milk (I use lactose-free)
1 teaspoon salt*
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed**
Dijon mustard
8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced

Preheat oven to 400*F.

Melt butter over low heat in a small saucepan. Add the flour, stir with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly add the hot milk, whisking constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup Gruyere, and the Parmesan.

Toast bread (either in a toaster, or by placing on a baking sheet for 5 minutes in the oven, then flip slices over and bake 2 more minutes).

Spread a thin layer of mustard on half the toasts, then a slice of ham, and a sprinkle of Gruyere. Top each with a plain toast and slather the sandwiches with the cheese sauce. Sprinkle the sandwiches with the remaining Gruyere. Bake for 5 minutes, then place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned.

Serve immediately. (Serves 4-8)
 
adapted from Barefoot in Paris

*I find ham to be extremely salty, so a teaspoon of salt in the cheese sauce was too much for me, especially considering Parmesan is a salty cheese. Use caution when salting the sauce!

**Ina recommends Pepperidge Farm sandwich bread for this recipe.

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