|A Breakfast Homage to Snoop and Martha|
As soon as I discovered that Martha Stewart was launching a new cooking show with Snoop Dog, I had to share the news with Mr. B. No stranger to developing an unique lexicon of his own, Mr. B immediately came up with dozens, if not hundreds of fun and interesting names for items in our everyday world. No longer was I rummaging through the kitchen cabinets for the cheese grater, but instead searching for the chez grata, thus opened a new chapter in our relationship. To celebrate, I decided to veer from the path and instead of making Mr. B’s usual breakfast of eggs and toast, I decided to riff on the French classic, Croque Monsieur, which to note, roughly translates to ‘gentleman’s crunch’.
That may sound too risque for breakfast, let alone any other meal, but the term is an innocent and apt descriptor of a classic grilled ham and cheese sandwich, the crunch a reference to both the toasted bread and any cheese that is able to break free and caramelize and harden on the crusts.
My version is a cross between that breakfast favorite of French toast and a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, complemented with cherry preserves and black pepper. Simple, but extraordinary and very tasty, when I set it down atop the Wall Street Journal, briefly interrupting Mr. B’s newspaper reading, there were no proclamations complaining that I had disrupted him in the midst of an article, but a series of ‘oohs and ahhs’ before he dug right in. Though he had a mouthful when he thanked me for such a delicious sandwich, I could clearly hear him call it a croque mon schnizzle.
Mel’s Croque Mon Schnizzle
2 slices sourdough bread
4 to 5 pieces of thinly sliced ham
2 to 3 pieces of cheese (I like Swiss, Gouda, or Gruyere)
2 T. of Bon Maman Cherry Preserves
1 T. butter
1 large egg
splash of half and half or milk
fresh ground pepper
1. Spread the Bon Maman cherry preserves on one side of each of the slices of bread.
2. Top one slice of the bread with the thinly sliced ham and then the cheese; top with the other slice of bread, cherry preserves on the inside of the sandwich.
3. In a pie plate, beat the egg, half and half, a pinch of salt, and several generous turns of the pepper mill.
4. Soak the assembled sandwich in the egg mixture until both sides of the sandwich are coated and the bread has completely absorbed the egg mixture.
5. In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt the butter until just beginning to brown.
6. Add the sandwich, cooking on each side until golden and brown and crispy.
7. Transfer the skillet to a hot oven or toaster oven until the cheese melts and begins to ooze from the bread.
8. Remove from the oven and before serving, push the sandwich around the pan so that any remnants of butter and cheese won’t be left behind.
9. Transfer to warm plate and serve with hot coffee and a knife and fork.