Photography & Art Direction: Anthony Contrino – Food Styling: Carrie Parente

A croque monsieur immediately transports me back to the days when I was interning in Southern France.  I was working in a wonderful bakery in a small town called Beziers.  On my one day off, I would go to the local bistro to take in the scenery and people watch, and this, along with some crispy frites, was my go-to order. 

Like many of my recipes, this is not the traditional way to make the famed sandwich, but it is BOMB!  Don’t skip the béchamel.  Its creaminess is the perfect contrast to the crispy exterior!

Croque Monsieur Panino

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4



  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole milk, warmed
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


  • 4 croissants, halved lengthwise
  • 6 ounces Gruyere, shredded
  • 8 slices about 6 ounces country ham


  • Preheat a panini press. (If there are temperature settings, choose medium.)
  • MAKE THE BÉCHAMEL In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add the flour and whisk to form a paste. Add the milk and whisk until the paste is dissolved.
  • Add the Dijon and salt and whisk until thickened.
  • Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes; remove from the heat.
  • Spread ¼ cup of the béchamel over the bottom half of the croissant.
  • Add a sprinkling of the cheese (approximately ¾ ounce).
  • Top with two slices of ham and an additional sprinkling of the cheese.
  • Place the croissant top over the cheese and transfer to the panini press.
  • Cook until the cheese is melted, the ham is warmed through and the croissant has grill marks from the press, for 2 to 3 minutes. (Cooking times will vary depending on the panini press being used.) Serve immediately.
Cuisine: French
Course: Lunch, Sandwiches
Author: Anthony Michael Contrino