Monday, 2 March 2015

The Breakfast Club – Croque Madame Muffins

The new year marked the start of a new event for a group of our friends; The Breakfast Club. We’re taking it in turns to host fortnightly breakfasts in an effort to get together more often outside of the pub on a Friday night. So far we’ve been treated to a good old fry up, an American style brunch of pancakes and corned beef hash, and another intercontinental fusion of Indian eggs and bacon.
This weekend it was our turn, and we both chose a dish each to make for our friends. James went for croque madame muffins for the savoury option, and I chose to make a blueberry monkey bread ring for those with a sweeter tooth. Here I’m sharing James’ recipe for the croque madame muffins; I think as part of a larger spread, one each would be enough, but as the main event, I’d recommend two per person. Recipe adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen on BBC. This recipe makes 12.

12 slices of white bread
6tbsp butter, melted
12 small/medium eggs
6 slices of parma ham, halved to make 12 pieces

For the bechamel sauce:
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
400ml full fat milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
60g Parmesan, or other hard cheese, grated
Salt and pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 180c and lightly grease a 12-hole muffin tin.

First, make your bechamel sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then add the flour and whisk over a medium heat for 2 minutes until it forms a paste. Add the milk, about 100ml at a time, and whisk until smooth. Once all the milk has been added, mix in the mustard and cheese and add salt and pepper to season. Continue whisking over a low heat for 5 minutes so it can thicken. Once smooth and thick, remove from the heat and put to one side.

Cut the crusts off of the bread, and flatten slightly using a rolling pin. Brush both sides of the bread with the melted butter. Then line each hole in the muffin tin with a slice of the crustless, flattened, buttered bread, making 12 little bread cups.

Add half a slice of parma ham to the bottom of each bread cup. Next, crack an egg on top of each piece of ham (if you only have large eggs, just add the yolk and leave out the white as it'll probably overflow!). Lastly, add a big dollop of the bechamel sauce on top, making sure to completely cover the egg. You can grate over a little nutmeg if you like, or sprinkle a few chilli flakes on top.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the bread is golden but still soft, and the eggs are just cooked. This should leave the yolks runny, so if you prefer firm yolks, cook for a further 5 minutes.

The muffins are easily removed from the tin, and are best eaten hot from the oven.

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