Sandra Holl owns Floriole Bakery and over the past few summers has provided me with more early-morning breakfasts from her farmers market stand than I can count. Blueberry bread pudding. Ham and cheese croissants. Fruit galettes.
Sometimes the most important thing I do all day at the farmers market is decide what to have for breakfast. The real problem is that once I get my breakfast, I can't enjoy it in peace. People keep coming up and trying to talk to me.
I guess this is a good time to mention that I work at the farmers market. It seems somehow relevant.
At any rate, Floriole's storefront is set to open this spring and it's fair to say that a lot of people in Chicago are excited.
I think I took up way too much of Sandra's time with this. I know she evaluated a lot of ideas, fiddling with different recipes and variations.
She's trying to open a bakery. On balance, it probably wasn't the best use of her time, though this is purely my supposition — she is far too polite to say as much or give any indication that it might be true.
I'm happy to say that what she came up with was worth it. Well, worth it for you and me at least.
Rather than being served on bread, her waffled croque madame is assembled atop waffled croissant dough. The waffle's texture allows the bechamel sauce to pool in the divots.
If you don't run a bakery and don't have croissant dough lying around, then I will concede that the croissant step may take a bit of time.
Sandra almost shared her croissant recipe with you, but then we decided that you should probably just buy Nancy Silverton's Pastries from the La Brea Bakery.
(As a fallback, here is a Nancy Silverton croissant recipe on Epicurious.com.)
Could you make this with bread? Or those croissant-ish things from a cardboard tube? I have no idea. Maybe. Probably.
Have you noticed that this blog is by and large not about the easy way to do things?
Waffled Croque Madame
Makes one incredibly rich open-face sandwich
- Croissant dough from Nancy Silverton's Pastries from the La Brea Bakery, or from croissant recipe of your choosing
- About a quarter cup of bechamel
- 2 slices of ham
- Gruyere cheese, grated
1. Waffle the croissant dough on a well-buttered waffle iron until golden brown. You may wish to remove the waffled croissant from the waffle iron before proceeding.
2. Pour the bechamel sauce onto the waffle, and then layer the ham on top. Sprinkle grated gruyere on top. Place the assembled stack in the waffle iron and close the lid for about 10 seconds to melt the cheese and marry the layers.
3. Waffle an egg on a well-buttered section of the waffle iron, without closing the lid. Cook until the white has set and then continue to cook for a minute or two. An offset spatula and patience are useful in removing the egg.
4. Top the sandwich with the egg and serve.