This is the epitome of French sandwiches. The creme de la creme. Ham and cheese taken to the next stratosphere with a creamy bechamel sauce flavored with tangy mustard that joins the cheese in melty oozy perfection.
- Béchamel Sauce
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or ¼ ground nutmeg
- Kosher salt
- Sandwich Ingredients
- 8 slices ½”-thick country-style bread
- 6 oz. ham (get it fresh from the deli counter – so much better than the packaged ham!)
- 3 oz. Gruyère, grated (about 1½ cups)
- 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
For the Béchamel:
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foamy. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is pale and foamy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add milk, stirring until mixture is smooth. Cook, stirring, until sauce is thick and somewhat elastic, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in mustard and nutmeg; season with salt.
- Béchamel can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool; press plastic wrap directly onto surface and chill.
Make the Sandwiches:
- Preheat oven to 425°. Spread bread slices generously with béchamel, making sure it spreads all the way to the edges of the bread. Place 4 slices of bread, béchamel side up, on a parchment-lined baking sheet; top each slice of bread with ham (using all the ham among the 4 slices) and cheese (using half the cheese among the 4 slices of bread). Top each slice of bread with an additional slice, béchamel side up, then top each final slice with remaining cheese and sprinkle with Herbes de Provence. Bake until cheese is golden brown and bubbling, about 10–15 minutes.
- Sandwiches can be made (but not baked) 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.
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