Deconstructed Croque Madame

Cook time: 15 minutes  Yield: 4-5


  • 5 cups cubed day old brioche loaf
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 3/4 cups cooked ham diced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups cream or half and half
  • 1 1/2 cups gruyere, grated
  • 3/4 cup parmesan, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, optional
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2-3 eggs


  1. Place cubed bread in the bottom of a medium casserole dish.
  2. Pour milk over the top and set aside.
  3. In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat cook ham until beginning to show a golden brown color. Set aside.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. In a large sauce pan over medium heat melt butter.
  6. Once butter is completely melted add flour all at once and whisk until smooth.
  7. Whisk in heavy cream (or half and half) and bring to a low boil.
  8. Allow to boil for a minute or two until thickened.
  9. Add 2 1/4 cup gruyere and parmesan and stir until smooth. Remove from heat.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of nutmeg if desired.
  11. Top cubed bread with browned ham.
  12. Pour 3/4 of the béchamel (cheese mixture) to the bread and ham and stir to combine.
  13. Taste and top with remaining béchamel if desired.
  14. Place casserole in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until warm throughout and browned on top.
  15. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat until hot.
  16. Gently add eggs and cook until the white is done but the yellow is still intact and runny, about 3 minutes.
  17. Remove the casserole from the oven and top with eggs.
  18. Serve immediately.
Includes a story of how she came up with the dish and the name of it.