Community Food & Drink Lifestyle London

Dinner with Drake's: The Croque Monsieur

By Maxime Alary

Jul 13, 2022

Dinner with Drake's: The Croque Monsieur


We continue our Dinner with Drake's series with another recipe from Maxime Alary, proprietor of London's premier French bistro, Blanchette. This time around it’s an enduring French classic, the croque monsieur.

Illustration by Amanda Berglund.


One of our signatures, you can eat the croque monsieur for breakfast, lunch or dinner. At home, I always  prepare a big batch and freeze half of it. When I have a last minute call, friends coming for a quick drink or even a coffee, it’s the best snack. My kids always ask for it when we come back from the park.

For the best results use a large lasagne tray or similar. 



2 loaves of white sliced bread , crusts removed , toasted on one side

Mustard béchamel

Smoked cooked ham approx. 400g 

1 packet of melted butter

600g grated cheddar or emmental or cheddar



  1. Line a semi deep tray with greaseproof paper
  2. Brush with melted butter
  3. Brush toasted side of bread with butter and place cooked side down in the tray.
  4. Coat very liberally with some of the béchamel and scatter over a layer of cheese 
  5. Then a layer of ham (don’t overlap the ham to much)
  6. Now take the remaining toast and spread a layer of béchamel over the un-toasted side and place on top of the ham and cheese toasted side up
  7. Now brush with melted butter
  8. Coat with a very thin layer of béchamel
  9. Add another layer of grated cheese
  10.  Bake at 200 degrees for  20 -30 minutes until nicely golden
  11. Let everything rest for 30 minutes 
  12. Leave it in the fridge for an hour. 

Cut a portion of croque monsieur and fry it in a hot pan with olive oil, turn the croque monsieur on each side then put the pan in a hot oven for  5 minutes. 

Serve it onto a plate with a salad and a mustard dressing. 


For the Mustard Béchamel

1 litre  milk

250 ml double cream

1 chopped onion


Bay leaves

4 clove garlic smashed



200 grams butter

150g  flour

Salt and pepper to taste



  • Infuse milk and cream with herbs and onion.
  • Cook out roux , 
  • Pass milk mix 
  • Add bit by bit to roux
  • Cook out for at least 15 mins on a low heat
  • For croque monsieur add about 4 kitchen spoons of Dijon mustard to béchamel to make very mustardy!

For the Moustarde Dressing 

Mix two spoons of mayonnaise with two spoons of Dijon mustard. Add more mustard if you want it stronger. 


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