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Skinny Croque Madame

I had the pleasure of working at Lush Bakery while we were in Fort Myers for Spring Training. Lush is a traditional French bakery with all things decadent and sinful- napoleons, chocolate croissants, eclairs, and cream puffs may start to convey the picture. We also served salads and sandwiches which were deceivingly viewed as “lighter fare” than our pastry selection. Our most popular sandwich was the croque madame: an egg bread sandwich with bechamel (cream sauce), turkey or ham, and pesto mayonnaise. The sandwich was then covered in Gruyere cheese and heated in the oven to give make it creamy, melty, and perfectly crunchy. In case that wasn’t enough, a fried egg is placed on top, and the sandwich is eaten with a fork and knife. The runny yolk becomes a delicious yellow sauce for everything below. Absolutely divine but with a hefty caloric price tag. People went crazy for them, and often felt less guilty because it was served with side salad.

I served probably 100 of these beautiful disasters and never once tried one. I think I was too scared to eat one and then never be able to stop. Now that I’ve been removed from cooking them everyday, I’ve had time to reflect on how I would lighten things up a bit to make as lovely a sandwich without taking away too much of what makes it unique. To start, I made it open-faced- there’s really no need for another slice of bread. I replaced the pesto mayonnaise, bechamel, and Gruyere cheese with a spread of thick pesto and just 1 tbs of goat cheese. A similar great flavor without the excess fat. The egg and the side salad stay the same, because it’s traditional French, and half the fun is cutting open the egg to begin eating! 

Makes: (4 servings) 1 sandwich*
Prep Time: 15 minutes

(4) 1 piece(s) of whole wheat bread (or bread of choice)
(3 tbs) 2 tsp pesto- a scant spoonful
(1/4 cup) 1 tbs low fat goat cheese
(1 tomato, sliced) 1 thick slice of tomato, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
(6 oz) 3 slices of turkey
(4) 1 egg, room temperature
(6 cups) 1 large handful of mixed greens with dressing of choice

  • Toast the bread until it’s nice a crunchy and golden brown. Add the pesto and goat cheese, and place on the servings dish.
  • Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray and add the turkey slices. Lightly saute so that the turkey is warm and starts to become golden brown. Add the tomato to the sandwich and place the turkey on top.
  • Keep the pan on the heat and add a tsp of vegetable oil. When the oil is nice and warm, add the egg by cracking on a hard surface and opening right above the pan.
  • Let the egg saute for a minute or two without touching it. The edges will start to brown and the egg will turn white. When there is very little clear albumin remaining, flip the egg. If you are courageous do this without a spatula, if not use a spatula to turn the egg.
  • Cook on the other side for just 20 seconds or so. You don’t want the yolk to be firm or there is no fun in cutting it open!
  • Immediately place on top of the turkey, and add some freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Add the mixed greens and dressing to serve.

* I portioned this out for an individual serving and for four servings in parenthesis. That way it’s easy to prepare for a group as well! If preparing for a group, toast the bread in the oven for a few minutes at 350 degrees. Add the pesto and goat cheese, and keep warm in the oven- with it turned off- until you need the bread.

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