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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
- 1/2 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.