What Meryl Streep Served Steve Martin in “It’s Complicated” ~ Croque Monsieur

croque monsieurMeryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin. All eating, all the time. The movie “It’s Complicated” is the kind of chick flick I love because, besides hilarious middle-age angst, there’s a lot of great looking real food.  Did you ask, “what’s that cheesy thing Meryl served Steve” (which then made Alec swoon)?  They said it several times — Croque Monsieur.  (say it this way: crock ma-seur)

The Croque Monsieur — sexy without trying. French. Rustic but elegant. Something you’d make to wow the guy without the guy noticing what was really happening. A salad of tender spring greens and he’s all yours. Steve and Alec both were goners.

You can see why men would like the Croque Monsieur. Just a sandwich. Ham. Tomato. Cheese. Open faced and roasted at a high oven temperature. Or not open faced, I’ve seen it with two slices of bread, too. Use quality ingredients or you’ll question why it’s such a big deal. Steve added a little Dijon mustard to his, but not necessary.

Larry did not add the mustard to his sandwich and was giving me sexy looks while eating. No wait, he was giving the sandwich sexy looks.

The movie sandwich is smothered in cheese and you cannot see the other ingredients.  I lightened that version up a bit with thinner bread, thicker tomato slices and less cheese on top.

croque monsieur sandwich

UPDATE TO THIS POST — a recent trip to Paris provided this discovery.  The Croque Monsieurs I saw everywhere were square and MUCH smaller than my American version:

Croque Monsieur

Croque Monsieur – slightly lighter version than the movie

  • 2 slices hearty peasant bread, approximately 1/2 inch thick
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 to 4 slices Black forest ham
  • 1 heirloom tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese (however, I used Kerrygold Vintage Cheddar this time)

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  On a cookie sheet prepared with non-stick spray, place the bread slices and brush lightly with olive oil. Turn over and spread with mayonnaise all the way to the edges. Top with the ham slices, then two slices of tomato. Add the shredded cheese on top and spread evenly. Bake until cheese is melted and golden brown, approx. 15 minutes.

NOTE: allow to cool to “warm” – if hot, you not only burn your mouth, but all the ingredients slide off. Makes 2 servings.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Millie April 21, 2020 at 5:51 am

Quick & short version is ok. But it’s not really Croque Monsieur without the gruyere cheese and that yummy cheese sauce…. Still I’ve done both – classic style & yours, And I tell you what – at 7:00 AM, no way in hell am I dealing with whisking up a cheese sauce LOL !! So thanks for the short, lighter version. 😀

2 Mariette April 1, 2020 at 5:39 pm

I LOVE this recipe! I used prosciutto, gruyere, and a local como bread. Garlic dijon on the side. I always pair with a glass of big red. SO good!

3 Gail Forrey-Vega August 28, 2018 at 8:19 pm

Finally!!!! Ever since I watched it’s Complicated… I’ve been waiting for this recipe along with the HONEY LAVENDER Ice Cream, CAN’T wait to make this!!🤗🤗🤗#Igotanicecreammakerjusttomakethis recipe

4 Corinne November 19, 2015 at 11:23 pm

I made this tonight and added a salad to go with it. I am not easily impressed with recipes, but this one was really delicious! I had two servings with a glass of pinot. Now to find a lavender/honey ice cream recipe! LOL! (Watching Its Complicated)

5 Worth The Whisk October 7, 2015 at 2:58 pm

I use all sorts of ham thickness, sliced for sandwiches. And you can use artisan bread from your local supermarket, although my husband prefers sour dough.

6 Susan September 26, 2015 at 5:53 pm

How thick is the ham,where do you get peasant bread.? Thank you for the recipe.

7 Carolyn Ford January 9, 2015 at 11:28 am

I made this sandwich and my “picky eating guys” loved it. Simply fast, easy and delicious. I love this recipe better than others posted online.

8 Vivian December 4, 2014 at 2:25 pm

So deilious

9 Worth The Whisk October 30, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Pauline, we sometimes make it with grainy mustard, too.

10 Pauline October 28, 2014 at 5:18 pm

So excited to try this recipe – quick question – my family and I are NOT fans of mayonnaise – could it be made without? Or, suggestions for a mayo replacement?
Thank you!!

11 Sheila June 23, 2014 at 10:35 am

Your recipe replicates my favorite from our recent Paris trip. I also had one at another cafe that used two slices of square bread but this one is my favorite!

12 Yvette February 8, 2014 at 4:10 pm

OMG, it has taken me Forever …..to find this recipe, thank you! For one I thought they were saying croup! Ta hee hee I’ve never been to Paris, but I’m on my way now thanks to you.

13 Anne August 14, 2013 at 5:49 am

Hi Patti,
I just found you yesterday while looking up a variety of recipes for Croque Monsieur. You are so funny and cute, I liked you instantly, and your Croque Monsieur…. well vavavroooommmmm. I lived in Europe several times and had forgotten to resurrect this beauty for many years, but now it will be in my family’s repertoire. I made a trip to the specialty market for excellent bread (one key to the success of this dish) I spent 25 years living abroad and working in the travel biz. I wonder what else I’ve forgotten about?! Hmmmmm…..
Thanks for what you do.

14 Lisa June 15, 2013 at 10:35 am

Sounds delicious! I remember hearing about Yarlsburg (Spelling?) in “The Devil Wears Prada” and wondered how that would taste. I’ve never tasted it. I do love another version, though just my own favorite, that is made with grilled french bread, thinly sliced or shaved roasted turkey breast, swiss or white cheddar, crispy bacon, and of course sliced tomato. It’s better topped with the grilled french bread and served with some kosher pickle spears on the side. DEEELISH!!

15 Mick April 5, 2013 at 8:56 am

Just FYI- the small square ones you saw are from patisseries and aimed at tourists or a ‘take away’ meal (becoming more and more popular in France). A true Croque Monsieur/Madame from a bistro is open faced and larger like the one on the movie. The French would never eat something that you used your hands for in a restaurant. I used to live there and have enjoyed many of them!

16 Britt November 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Just made this and it was absolutely wonderful! Substituted with fresh mozzarella and shaved honey ham, but the result was still delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe!

17 Andrea Giambrone June 9, 2012 at 9:14 am

Just yesterday in Paso Robles we stopped at a French bistro and there are the menu – proved irresistible to Nelson – was Croque Messieur. A definite yum. I like your single slice of bread, complete with tomato and a not-over-the-top amount of gloriously good cheddar – even better. So what time is brunch??

18 Diane {createdbydiane.blogspot.com} November 28, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Looks delicious! LOVED the movie, so funny!!!

19 Worth The Whisk November 19, 2010 at 8:39 am

Jill, that is a coincidence. I don’t get Fine Cooking magazine but just last week, “It’s Complicated” became available to TiVo (free, that’s my motivation) and we watched it. Larry and I both really wanted those grilled sandwiches once we saw it again!

20 Jill Silverman Hough November 19, 2010 at 8:15 am

I was just reading the Dec/Jan issue of Fine Cooking and – a recipe for Croque Madame! Do I see a trend emerging? I admittedly don’t know you very well, Patti, but it seems just like you to be at the front of one.

21 Worth The Whisk November 19, 2010 at 8:00 am

Linda, nice to hear from you again. Fancy new cameras are always exciting. I will stop by soon!

22 lindaraxa November 18, 2010 at 8:31 pm

My favorite, although my recipe is a little, shall we say, fattening! (I go all out and put bechamel on top) but I like this version and maybe, just maybe, tomorrow for lunch I will treat myself to one!

Stop by, haven’t seen you in ages…I know, it gets complicated….

BTW I, like you, now have a new fancy camera!

23 Worth The Whisk November 18, 2010 at 5:26 pm

I sure do, too, Kath. Wish I looked like the movie’s “Jane” with all that constant eating!!

24 The Duo Dishes November 18, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Also a big fan of the Madame, but both are good. It’s the grown up version of a ‘grilled cheese’.

25 Kath November 18, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I just love sandwiches like this! Thanks for the recipe.

26 Worth The Whisk November 18, 2010 at 11:46 am

I love it. Larry won’t eat an egg-topped thing, so he must remain the Monsieur! Merci!

27 stella starlite November 18, 2010 at 10:51 am

Put a fried or poached egg on top and it’s a Croque Madame.

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