One of my favorite things to eat for any meal is ham and cheese. I love Cuban sandwiches, ham and jam sandwiches, and especially croque monsieurs. I first had a ham and jam sandwich in Stockholm, where their breakfasts are more like our lunches, with cold cuts, smoked fish and sliced onions and cucumbers. I tasted my first croque monsieur in Paris, but the first one I fell in love with was actually here in New York. I was having brunch with friends at Prune and they serve this delicious croque monsieur for breakfast. Ever since my time abroad in Europe, I have been enamored by the combination of ham and jam. A croque monsieur with an over-easy egg and some strawberry jam has become my favorite breakfast. Jon and I wanted to create a single bite that would encapsulate the joy of a perfect breakfast croque monsieur. What we wound up with did just that.
For the Sandwich:
1 slice brioche, toasted
1 thick slice smoked ham, cut into rounds
2 slices Swiss or Jarlsberg cheese, cut into rounds
4 Quail eggs, cooked over easy
For the Onion Jam:
2 large Spanish onions, thinly sliced and caramelized (will have extra)
1 tablespoon Canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper
For the Strawberry Jam:
1 pint strawberries, halved and hulled
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp white granulated sugar
2 tbsp sherry
For the Caramelized Onions:
- Halve onions and slice thinly to create half-moon shapes.
- Heat ¼ cup of oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a pot and add onions. Stirring occasionally, allow onions to brown and caramelize. If bottom gets too brown, use a little water to deglaze and stir with a wooden spoon to scrape off bottom of pot.
- Cook onions until they have reached a golden brown color and are sweet.
For the Strawberry Jam:
- Caramelize 1 tablespoon of honey in a small saucepan.
- When honey has turned a golden brown color, add strawberries. Cook for a minute and deglaze with sherry.
- Add sugar and butter. Cook on low heat, allowing berries to sweat out juices.
For the Bite:
- Toast brioche and cut into circle using circle cutter 1 inch wide.
- Using the same sized cutter, cut out circles of the ham and cheese.
- In a small sauté pan, heat a tablespoon of oil. Crack quail egg into hot pan and cook over easy, until whites are cooked through and yolk is runny, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and using small circle cutter, cut away outside whites so that only a small round of white surrounding the yolk remains.
- To assemble bite, spread strawberry jam on brioche. Top with ham and cheese circles. Spoon caramelized onions on cheese and gently nestle eggs onto onions.
© 2010 Jonathan Meter and Jessica Hertle