James Beard Award winning food writer and recipe developer Georgeanne Brennan turns to her adopted home of Provence, France for her latest collection of dishes you’ll want to cook immediately. This French grilled cheese sandwich is like a universal hug.
The most well-known French grilled cheese sandwich is the croque monsieur, made with ham and Gruyère on pain au levain, with a béchamel sauce covering it all. My sandwich here captures the spirit of that classic, with roasted red peppers standing in for the ham and no sauce. I love béchamel, but sometimes it’s nice to skip that extra step.
- 3 slices cut from large loaf pain au levain or other coarse country bread, cut in half, or 6 slices pain de mie (white sandwich bread)
- About 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 pound comté, gruyère or emmentaler cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 roasted red peppers in oil, drained and patted dry
For the sandwiches
Spread 1 side of each bread slice (half or whole slice, depending on bread type used) with about 1 teaspoon butter, followed by ½ teaspoon of the mustard. Divide the cheese equally among 3 slices, followed by ½ roasted red pepper on each slice.
Cover with the remaining 3 bread slices, mustard side down. Butter the top of each sandwich with about 1 teaspoon butter.
Heat a dry frying pan over medium-high heat. Place the sandwiches, buttered side down, in the pan and gently press until the edges begin to turn golden, about 3 minutes.
Butter the tops of the sandwiches with about 1 teaspoon butter each, then flip the sandwiches and cook, pressing gently, until the second side is golden, about 2 minutes longer. Serve at once.