A simple and satisfying dish where a fried egg crowns a decadent sandwich of ham enrobed in béchamel and melted cheese.
Prep. Time:  30 minutes
Ingredients to serve 4

  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 1 ⁄ 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 ⁄ 4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 (1/4″-thick) slices country bread, lightly toasted
  • 8 oz. thinly sliced smoked ham
  • 16 oz. Gruyère cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • Crème fraîche, for garnish
  • Aleppo pepper, for garnish
  • Mixed green salad, for serving (optional)

Melt 4 tbsp. butter in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour; cook 2 minutes. Whisk in milk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until slightly thick, making a béchamel sauce, 6–8 minutes. Whisk in 1 1 ⁄ 2 tbsp. mustard, plus nutmeg, salt, and pepper; set this béchamel sauce aside.

Heat broiler to high. Place 4 slices bread on a baking sheet and spread 1 tbsp. mustard over each. Top each with 2 oz. ham, 2 tbsp. béchamel sauce, and 2 oz. cheese. Broil until cheese begins to melt, 1–2 minutes. Top with remaining bread slices and spread with remaining sauce; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Broil until cheese is browned and bubbly, 3–4 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in a 12″ nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add eggs and season with salt and pepper; cook until whites are cooked but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Place an egg on top of each sandwich, garnish with a dollop of crème fraîche, and sprinkle with Aleppo pepper.

Accompaniments:  I prefer a salad of spring mix greens tossed in light vinaigrette

Bon appétit!