Madame Cristo, I Presume
I was attempting to do a little twist on the venerable Croque Madame, by soaking the toast in a custard batter before frying, instead of topping it with the usual white sauce, but when I’d finished, I realized what I really had created was a Monte Cristo with a poached egg on top. These things will happen.
It was amazingly delicious, but I decided it wasn’t close enough to call a Croque Madame, which is when I turned to Twitter for help. This is never a good idea, but this time it totally worked out, as some dude who goes by the name, Zap Shakur (@zapshakur), suggested I go with “Madame Cristo,” and the rest is history.
If you’re just making one or two, feel free to poach your eggs right before the sandwiches are done, but for larger parties, you’ll want to check out this poached egg video, which shows a great make-ahead method for serving multiple poached eggs at the same time. This is exactly how it’s done in restaurants, where cooking to order would be virtually impossible.
If you are feeding a larger group, you can make your sandwiches ahead, and then just keep them in a warm oven, until you're ready to top with the poached eggs. But, whether you’re making this for two or twenty, I really do hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 2 Madame Cristos:
4 slices white bread, lightly toasted
8 thin slices of Gruyere, Swiss, Cheddar, Havarti, or any other melting cheese
4 ounces thinly sliced honey baked ham or similar meat product
2 tablespoons butter for pan frying
2 poached or fried eggs to top
chives to garnish
For the egg batter:
2 large eggs
5 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
pinch of nutmeg and cayenne
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest