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Croque Monsieur is the French version of a hot sandwich made with toasted sandwich bread, ham, and cheese (Gruyère or Emmenthal).
Today for lunch, I made this tasty, and crispy Croque Monsieur Pesto Ham Tomato and Mozzarella! It is perfect for a quick lunch and a variant of the classic version. My family and I always enjoy this.
To make this delicious Croque Monsieur, I bought some Pain De Sol, similar to Pullman bread, from my local bakery H&F. It was really great for making this hot sandwich.
I prefer to make my homemade pesto because I tend to put more leaf vegetables, aromatic herbs, less olive oil, and add freshness with a touch of lemon juice. My pesto is thicker, more fragrant, and less oily. However, feel free to use store-bought pesto if you prefer.
Before adding tomato and mozzarella, I put them on a paper towel to remove any moisture, so that they are not too soggy.
To cook my sandwich faster instead to use the oven, I put two sandwiches in a pan, and top with a cast iron and dutch oven casserole lid on it…
And voila! My sandwiches are perfectly cooked, just as if you had used a panini press to do the job. I found this great tip from Italian Chef, Giada De Laurentiis.
Croque Monsieur Pesto Ham Tomato and Mozzarella 🥪
- 8 slices Pullman bread type or sandwich bread
- 8-10 slices Black Forest Ham or your favorite
- 8 slices Mozzarella well-drained on a paper towel
- 2-3 tomatoes finely sliced, well-drained on a paper towel
- ½ onion (optional) finely sliced
- 1 homemade pesto* or store-bought
- Lay 8 slices of bread on a board and spread a fine layer of pesto evenly on each one (about 1 Tbsp). On 4 slices, scatter slices of onion to your liking.
- Place slices of ham on it (2-3 slices). Add slices of tomato (3-4) and lightly sprinkle some black pepper on top.
- Then add two slices of mozzarella, sprinkle again a little bit of lack pepper on it.
- Finally, top with the remaining slices of bread, pesto face down, and press gently.
If you do not have a panini press like me, this is a great method to cook your sandwich:
- Heat a large pan over on medium-low heat. Place two sandwiches in the pan. Add a cast-iron pan or flat lid a little smaller than the diameter of the pan on the stove. To put more weight I like to add the lid of my dutch oven casserole. Gently press down.
- Cook on one side for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown (keep an eye on it, as some sandwich breads tend to burn quickly because of the sugar in it). Then remove the cast iron or lid, flip your two sandwiches. Cook the other side with the cast iron on again, pressing gently and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.
- Before eating I like to cut them in half. This helps to let the steam inside escape and not burn your mouth. Serve on a plate with your favorite salad on the side.
Can’t wait to try this! Got the ingredients today and am making it tomorrow. Thanks!
Oh great, thank you, Jim! Let me know how it was?
Franchise, I’m writing about it today but… The inside was wonderful but I got a little carried away with your trick using the cast iron pan on top as a press. I got a little carried away and heated the cast iron pan on high before putting it on top of the sandwiches. Ummmm, let’s just say I’m trying to decide if I should describe the bread as being seared, carmelized, or charred. I’m thinking char is the best description! I am definitely making this again…using a much lower heat. Other than that, it was delicious! Thanks for the recipe (and the things I learn from your page). Jim
I am sorry but maybe there was a misunderstanding in the step about cooking the Croque Monsieur in the pan.
First, I only said to heat up the pan where you put the Croque Monsieur, not the cast iron. The cast iron on the top only serves to put some weight on the sandwich so it cooks evenly.
So you cook the sandwich on one side for 3-4 minutes with the cast iron on top. Then you remove the cast iron, flip your sandwich, and cook the other side with the cast iron on again, pressing gently. Maybe it was this last point that was unclear so you did not know how to flip the sandwich with the cast iron on it?
Thank you for catching my attention! I am going to correct this so there is no more confusion for my readers. Sorry again for not having been clear and many thanks for trying my recipe.
Thanks Francois, that make a lot of sense. No worries, it gave me something to write about and my wife and I had a good laugh. It might have worked if I hadn’t made the thing so hot! I enjoy your recipes and lessons. Thanks for sharing and for the beautiful photos of your creations.
Thank you Jim! You make me laugh with your story… 😀 Stay well too and your family!
Attempt #2 was perfect! Thanks again.
I am glad and relieved that your second attempt was a success!