Croque Madame Breakfast Casserole

When I came across it on the interwebs, this recipe was called a Croque Monsieur Breakfast Casserole – a strata kinda riff on the classic French bistro grilled ham and cheese sammich.

The thing is…

when you add a fried egg on top, it becomes a Croque Madame, so, even though the eggs aren’t fried – ermmm, and I swapped honey barbecue deli chicken for the ham – I decided to go Madame, all the way.

Monsieur or Madame, this is a fine breakfast casserole; one you may want to have up your sleeve for those holidaze breakfasts in your near future.

•1-1/2 cup whole milk
•1/2 cup heavy cream
•7 eggs
•1/4 tsp kosher salt
•1 tsp cracked black pepper
•Dijon mustard
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce (or your fave hot sauce, to taste)
•12 slices brioche or sourdough
•Butter, to grease the casserole
•Chives, chopped
•3/4 lb sliced deli chicken or ham
•2 cups grated Gruyère or Swiss cheese

1 to 2 cups arugula
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon olive oil

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply substitute a tablespoon of decent sherry and mebbe add a bit more of your preferred hot sauce.

Note: like most strata casseroles, this is best if you make it well ahead of time and let it rest in the fridge overnight, but, for this one, you could, if needs be, toss it together and allow it to rest for just 30 minutes before baking. It’s nice to have choices.

Brush butter over the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 inch baking dish and set aside.

Whisk the eggs together with the milk, heavy cream, salt, pepper, Sherry Peppers and Cajun Power sauces and set aside.

Spread one side of each slice of bread with the Dijon mustard and arrange six slices, mustard side up, in the bottom of the buttered 13 x 9 inch pan.

Pour half of the egg and milk mixture over the bread slices, being certain to soak each slice, then sprinkle the chives over the top.

Arrange the chicken or ham over the egg-soaked bread, then sprinkle about half the shredded cheese over the top.

Arrange the remaining bread slices, mustard side down, over the chicken and cheese, then pour the remaining egg and milk mixture over the top, again being sure to soak each slice of bread.

Set aside to rest for 30 minutes, or, cover and stash in the fridge overnight.

If you choose to bake after 30 minutes, heat your oven to 350º while the Croque Madame is resting. If you’ve gone the overnight rest route, bring the casserole out of the fridge to come to room temperature while heating your oven to 350º.

Either way, bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cheese is nicely bubbly and brown, the top bread slice edges are just a touch crispity, and the egg mixture has set.

Remove from the oven and let rest while you prepare the salad by whisking the lemon juice together with the olive oil and tossing it with the arugula.

Breakfast, mesdames et messieurs, is well and truly served.


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