Friday, 27 November 2015

Croque-monsieur; Gluten-free version of this traditional French supper, brunch or snack

Croque-monsieur is a fancy, hot cheese and ham sandwich and a traditional French street, fast or snack food. There is even a version for Madame, with sliced, pan-fried chicken but we don't mention that here, at least not in earshot of our poultry.

Gluten-free croque monsieur organic recipe


 

Traditional Restaurant and Street Food in France


Croque-monsieur and Croque-madame are the sort of snacks you can get in a bar, bistro or roadside café outside the regulation times for eating lunch in restaurants, that is from 12 to 2.00pm. In France, unless you live in a very busy city or all-year-round tourist area, lunch hours are sacrosanct. It is also the mark of a good restaurant when these hours are observed, being an excellent indication that there is a resident chef and thus that the food is prepared and cooked on the premises. Further evidence for finding a good traditional restaurant is to visit the local market and see what is on offer, particularly in the way of fish, meat and vegetables. Then when you are choosing a restaurant,  notice what is being offered as the plat du jour. If it is the same as that on offer in the market, then you have a good chance the food is local, fresh and cooked from scratch. This will be even more obvious at an organic restaurant, which is the only kind of restaurant here that we eat in and many of which are only open for lunch, the main French meal of the day.

Flammkuchen organic recipe

There is a whole host of what might be considered as traditional French street or 'fast food', although this can vary in authenticity and palatability. The ubiquitous Croque-monsieur is no exception. It was a long time ago but I still have vivid memories of a Parisian bistro, micro-waved version, served complete with black cellophane! Much of the best street/fast food in France is actually regional and furthermore many recipes that came into being through a fusion of national cuisines. Thus in the South of France near the Italian border, they have a delicious, brioche-based tart called Pissaladière or Pissaladiera, which is covered with anchovies, herbes de Provence, onions and olives. In Alsace on the border with Germany they have Flammekueche, Flammkuchen, Tarte flambée, (pictured above) and you can find the recipe for that here.

Gluten-free Version


I am actually very fond of snack food in the evening, for, with the way we live here on our smallholding/forest garden, we tend to get the poultry out before we breakfast and for this, we return to our roots, with a copious meal at 10.30pm. We do not eat again until the evening and at this time we like to eat a great percentage of our food raw, so huge fresh kitchen-garden mixed salads, made with whatever we have in season. Thus something like a pizza, or tarte goes very well with that to make a complete evening meal

Over the past few years we have systematically tried to cut grain out of our diet, so that it now only forms a small percentage of our weekly food.

Ingredients:


Organic parma ham, raw milk cheese and raw cream
Potato
Parma Ham (the hock which I get at my organic butcher's for a fraction of the slice-price.)
Raw cream
Raw milk hard cheese - here I'm using Emmental

 

 Organic Agria potato

Temperature:

240°C or 460°F

What type of potato to use:

For mashing I am using Ditta and Agria, (left), what in French are called 'firm' and 'tender' potatoes and are locally grown. Agria is referred to in English as general purpose and Ditta as waxy. 

Method:


organic mashed potatoTake a weight of cooked potato equivalent to the amount you would make in pastry to line your chosen dish. You can add more depending on how hungry you are, thus how thick you want the base to be! Decide by the state of the skins whether or not to peel your potatoes. Hand mashing is best, mechanical appliances tend to make for a gluey texture in my experience.

making an organic potato base instead of bread or pastry

Press the mash potato into a well-buttered dish and then cook at the temperature indicated above on a high shelf until the base is firm-ish to the touch and the edges are beginning to crisp up. This takes around 8 to 10 minutes. 

 

organic parma ham



Slice your ham, parma or otherwise, thinly and dot over the potato base. I'm using a dish that is 25cm or 10" square, with an internal depth of 25mm or 1". 
 


Recipe for organic gl;uten-free croque-monsieur

Organic gluten-free croque-monsieur 

Take two large heaped spoons of raw cream and mix them with approximately 80 grams or 3oz of grated cheese. Dot this over the ham and base. Season with black pepper.





Cook for another 10 minutes on a high shelf or until the cheese and cream mix has formed a melted golden layer over the whole surface. Enjoy with a salad of crisp seasonal vegetables and fruits. 



Ideas for an organic Winter salad
If you've enjoyed this post then please feel free to share it, ask questions and/or comment.
Hope to see you here again for another recipe from an old farmhouse in Normandie,
Sue

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© 2015 Sue Cross

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