I’m going to make a very, very gross assumption and say that all food bloggers talk to their food. I know that I have begged, pleaded, and bartered with food. I’ve showered it with compliments.
Yesterday, I cooed at it. Before I'd even cooked it.
"Look at you all teeny tiny. I could just eat you right up.”
“Who’s the cutest little sandwich ever? You are. That’s right, you are.”
There was more, but what little dignity I have insists that I stop.*
I love food in miniature, but little sandwiches with a formal name are extra cute.
This is going to become my new favorite brunch/cold weather/appetizer dish. They are so easy and everyone is going to love them. To quote my cousin Michael**, “They’re really good, but you cheated. You put melted cheese on anything and it is going to be amazing.”
I did make the bread from scratch because I could not find mini brioche. And I didn't want full sized brioche cut into small pieces. I wanted mini brioche. I also didn’t look very hard because I looove making bread. But making the bread is definitely not necessary and as such I will not be sharing the recipe until later this week. Seriously, any good brioche would be amazing.
I haven’t even gotten to the best parts. It can be made in advance and the sandwich is cooked in the oven. The top gets all melty and gooey, and the bottom gets brown and toasty and I wish I still had some left now. Put a fried egg on it, and you have a Croque Madam, and a room full of amazed brunch goers (or Oscar party attendees). They don’t need to know how easy it was.
*Dignity, you win this battle, but you will not win the war.
**His blog (co-written by his brother) is so much smarter than mine. BUT NOT AS TASTY.
Adapted from Daniel Boulud
The bechamel can be made a day in advance and gently reheated. I assembled the sandwiches in the morning and baked them off at night. For brunch, I would assemble them the night before and just wrap them really well in plastic wrap.
Remember, a fried egg never hurt anyone, especially not this sandwich.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
Salt, pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg to taste
8 slices brioche, cut 1/3-1/2” thick
12 ounces high quality ham, thickly sliced
10 ounces Gruyère, grated
1 tablespoon butter, melted
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk to form a smooth roux. Do not let it color. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the milk and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened (about 10 minutes). Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. (To refrigerate, store with plastic wrap directly on the surface. Gently reheat before using.)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place bread in a single layer and spread béchamel to the edges of all the pieces of bread (there may be some béchamel leftover). Place ham on 4 of the slices. Top all of the slices with Gruyère so it comes within 1/4” of the edge.
Place the bread with the Gruyère and béchamel (cheese side up) on top of the slices layered with ham.
Line a sheet pan with parchment. Brush with melted butter. Transfer the sandwiches to the buttered parchment, cheese side up. Bake until the cheese is melted and golden brown, 15-20 minutes. If its not browned after 20 minutes, put them under the broiler for 30 seconds- 1 minute.