I am nonchalantly trying to introduce my kids to classic French dishes that many people consider the most divine culinary treasures.
As long as these recipes do not take hours of work in the kitchen, I am more than happy to make them for my kids – whether they eat them or not.
As you probably know, the French like their cheese, which makes it hard for Molly, 10, to appreciate many of these dishes. Luckily, Emma, 12, is an adventurous eater and truly enjoys many of the finer things from other cultures.
Clay, 8, goes along for the ride, not pretending to like what he doesn’t, and as long as he is hungry, he usually will at least try new foods. He doesn’t always like them, and would almost always choose a corndog if offered, but he is trying.
I decided to make a croque monsieur. Similar to a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, the French version is draped with a cheese sauce and broiled. It is served in bistros and cafes throughout France and loved by children as well as adults.
Emma helped assemble the sandwiches while Molly started with the sauce. She melted some butter in a pan, then added a little flour, cooking the mixture for a few minutes while whisking.
Clay helped by pouring in the milk, which caused sputtering and almost instant thickening. They needed some help whisking because the sauce needs consistent mixing to prevent lumps. We added a handful of cheese, along with some seasoning.
Emma cut the crusts off the sourdough bread, smeared a tiny bit of Dijon mustard on each slice, then put some good ham and grated Gruyère between each sandwich.
I melted a little butter in a heavy skillet, then sauteed the sandwiches until golden on each side. We placed the sandwiches onto a sheet pan, spooned a few tablespoons of cheese sauce on top of each, then broiled them for a couple of minutes. They looked fabulous.
As expected, Emma and I loved our croque monsieurs. Clay enjoys a good grilled cheese, so the sandwich was a hit, but the sauce was not his favorite. Molly, well, she stuck with salad that night.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Margery Reed Poitras is a former professional chef who now cooks for her kids and occasionally for the more mature palate.