About this recipe
After a long, snowy winter, spring is a sweet reward, reminding us that warm days will be upon us again soon (or at least that they’ll be upon us by June!). Celebrate the anticipated warmth and reappearance of the outdoor growing season with savory brunch-ready dishes, like this baked croque-monsieur.
Variations on the traditional French egg and bread sandwich can be made in a number of ways and all offer a cost-saving stretch, turning your favorite loaf into a protein-rich, delicious meal. Served with a salad of spring greens, it’s a meal unto itself. Try it also as a side dish, or as part of a larger buffet.
- Use your favorite bread: gluten-free, challah, country bread, Durum round, sourdough and brioche.
- Make it vegetarian: Use sautéed mushrooms instead of ham to make croqueforestière, or substitute sautéed chopped spring onions and greens, such as spinach, kale or mustard greens.
- Instead of savory, try sweet: Use cinnamon bread, raisin bread or challah, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the egg and milk mixture, sprinkle cinnamon- sugar over top before baking and serve with local maple syrup.
- Save time and prepare the night before serving: Simply cover and refrigerate until just before baking.
Grease a large (13- by 9½-inch) baking dish with butter.
Place half the brioche slices to cover the bottom of the baking dish, trimming individual slices as needed. Spread Dijon mustard over the layer of brioche. Top with ham, arranging the slices in a single layer. Place the remaining brioche slices to cover the ham.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk until they are thoroughly combined.
Pour the egg mixture over top of the brioche, distributing evenly.
Preheat oven to 350°. Place the baking dish in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (or overnight), allowing the egg to soak into the bread.
Remove dish from the refrigerator; spread grated Gruyère evenly across the top. Sprinkle with thyme and season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes.
Cut into 8 pieces and serve warm.