The holidays are solidly behind us, or at least behind my family. The Yule tree and all attendant decorations were boxed up and stored over the weekend and my girls got back to the school day grind bright and early this morning. Or early, anyway; despite the passing of the solstice, it’s still pretty dark around here.
But one thing lingers on: leftovers. From Christmas turkey to New Year’s ham there is a lot yet to be eaten. Don’t mistake me; I’m not complaining. The good fortune of a full refrigerator should never me made light of. But how to serve those leftovers as fresh, palate pleasing meals is the challenge.
One of my favorite easy ways to use both types of meat is in a French sandwich known as a Croque-Monsieur. The verb croquer means to munch or snack so the sandwich translates humorously as Mr. Snack or Mr. Munch. These are generally made with ham as I will offer here, but can also be made with turkey (in which case they are called a Croque-Madame, or Mrs. Munch).
This simple but hearty and delightfully warm lunch or supper goes like this:
Sliced French bread (I like to get mine, at least for this meal, the same day from a local baker the way a Frenchwoman would)
Ham (really, you can use any kind but leftovers from a big meal work brilliantly)
Swiss cheese, grated
Preheat oven to between 300 and 325 degrees.
Butter one slice of bread. Place a slice of ham on the bread and then put some grated cheese on the ham. Cover this with a second slice of bread, butter it and repeat the process with ham and cheese.
Place four completed sandwiches on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until all the cheese has completely melted and the edges of the bread are brown and crispy.
Serve with vegetable soup or a green salad. Bon appetite ~
Header: Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre-Auguste Renoir c 1880