The most well-known French grilled cheese sandwich is the croque monsieur, made with ham and Gruyère on pain au levain, with a béchamel sauce covering it all. My sandwich here captures the spirit of that classic, with roasted red peppers standing in for the ham and no sauce. I love béchamel, but sometimes it’s nice to skip that extra step.
3 slices cut from large loaf pain au levain or other coarse country bread, cut in half, or 6 slices pain de mie (white sandwich bread)
About 4 Tbsp (2 oz/60 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ lb (125 g) Comté, Gruyère, or Emmentaler cheese, shredded
1½ roasted red peppers in oil, drained and patted dry
Spread 1 side of each bread slice (half or whole slice, depending on bread type used) with about 1 teaspoon butter, followed by ½ teaspoon of the mustard. Divide the cheese equally among 3 slices, followed by ½ roasted red pepper on each slice. Cover with the remaining 3 bread slices, mustard side down. Butter the top of each sandwich with about 1 teaspoon butter.
Heat a dry frying pan over medium-high heat. Place the sandwiches, buttered side down, in the pan and gently press until the edges begin to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Butter the tops of the sandwiches with about 1 teaspoon butter each, then flip the sandwiches and cook, pressing gently, until the second side is golden, about 2 minutes longer. Serve at once.
Tomatoes are the perfect complement to a grilled cheese. This tomato tart recipe should be next on your list.