I recently returned from a wonderful vacation to Paris, where you'll be happy to know I ate at least one sandwich every single day. Every. Single. Day. Some with meats and cheese, some just meats and butter, some with meats, cheese, AND butter, and then then the king of all sandwiches -- the croque-monsieur. It's a ham and cheese sandwich topped with a béchamel sauce. Throw a fried egg on top and you've got a croque-madame. Heaven.
So of course, after enjoying the sights and tastes of Paris, it made sense that my next movie and sandwich choice would be a croque-madame and the most charming of all movies ever made -- Amélie.
I remember the first time I saw Amélie. I was in college and I left the movie positively floating. It still has that effect. It's like the most beautiful fairy tale set in the most beautiful city in the whole world. Audrey Tautou is so charming and perfect. The movie is really very funny. Every little set piece and prop and outfit choice is perfect. My friend Liz and I watched this movie together, and here were just a few of our thoughts:
- I counted the number of times one of us said "I love this movie" -- it was 7.
- The reds and the green colors / filters in this movie are just insane and beautiful.
- Out of context, everything that Amélie does is SO CREEPY! She spies on EVERYONE - she breaks into like, a million apartments / houses / yards, she steals heirlooms, she stalks people....but somehow, in this movie, it's just adorable.
- I think that I could really pull off Amélie's haircut.
- This soundtrack is everything.
- Sometimes movies show a glorified version of the city they're filmed in, but Paris really is this beautiful.
- The repetition in this movie is great. I love hearing what different characters collect / like / dislike. My friend Liz: "After I saw this movie as a teenager, I started keeping people’s grocery lists that I would find at the grocery store." She's great.
This movie holds up and was so fun to re-watch. It's adorable, fun, sweet, has great revenge moments, and children speaking French, which is the cutest thing ever.
Biggest shock of the movie, though -- THERE'S A CROQUE-MADAME IN ONE OF THE SHOTS! At Amélie's work! We were just going to do a "sandwich inspired by a movie / place" thing, but no. It's here. It's in the movie. We both lost it when we saw it....which seems like a good time to transition to "the sandwich."
- 8 slices of good bread (I used split top white -- if you can get it, use Pain de Mie)
- 4-8 slices of good, cured ham (depending on how many slices you want per sandwich)
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups shredded Emmental cheese
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1 1/2 c milk
- 1 egg (if you wanna take your monsieur to a madame)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Dash of nutmeg
Step 1: Make your béchamel sauce. Melt your butter (2 Tbsp) in a sauce pan and whisk in your flour (2 Tbsp). Once it's well mixed, whisk in the milk and keep whisking till the sauce is thick. At this point, add salt and pepper to taste and a dash of nutmeg. Then, melt in 1/2 c of the shredded cheese.
Step 2: Toast your bread. Toast it in a toaster, toaster oven, real oven, whatever works for you - just get your bread a little toasty - but not too much, cause it's going under the broiler at the end.
Step 3: Assemble!!!! Take your toasty bread, place 1-2 slices of ham on a slice of bread, top with more shredded cheese, other slice of bread, and then smother with the béchamel sauce. Then, place the assembled sandwiches on a baking sheet and place under the broiler for just a few minutes till the sauce on top is starting to bubble / brown.
Step 4: To egg or not to egg? If you wanna stop there BOOM! You've got a croque-monsier. Take it a step further, top with a fried egg, and it's a croque-madame! We went for eggs, of course. It was a delicious mess.