Following the unexpected runaway success of a random Facebook post of a sheet pan full of grilled cheese sandwiches – yes, you can simultaneously cook as many as you can fit on a sheet by baking them at 450F for about ten minutes, flipping them halfway through, and they’re perfectly evenly melted and toasty – I decided to do the same with a batch of croque monsieur. It was perfect timing, as Grimm’s is currently doing a holiday campaign in which they ask food writers across Canada to cook with their products, and in return donate $500 worth of Grimm’s Fine Foods products to their charity of choice – so I made these to share in support of Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids (BB4CK), an organization that feeds 4,400 kids in Calgary every school day. It seems fitting to share our lunch in exchange for providing so many kids with a lunch they might not otherwise get.
The folks at Grimm’s sent us a couple Honey & Maple Flavor Ham Halves, and W was thrilled. Ham is literally his favourite food, and when he was little and asked if he could make his own breakfast one day, I went downstairs to find him happily chowing down on an entire ham shank with a glass of chocolate milk. It’s also perfect for making croque monsieur – a ham and cheese sandwich smothered with cheese sauce, then given a few minutes under the broiler to get all bubbly and golden. So you have to put them in the oven anyway – they’re perfect for cooking by the sheet pan. (To turn your croque monsieur into a croque madame, top it with an egg.)
It does seem very fancy and convoluted, but I promise it’s not. And while it’s typically made with gruyère or emmenthal, you could totally use Grimm’s Old Cheddar or Gouda – really it’s just a grilled cheese blanketed in more cheese, with a smoky, salty slab of ham tucked in for good measure.
When you think about it, these are ideal holiday eating – great for a crowd, and as well-suited to breakfast (especially topped with an egg) as to lunch or dinner. And although you may think leftovers won’t fare well in the fridge, they reheat beautifully – I almost like them better the next day.
Any of Grimm’s ham products would work well here – love that they’re all made with 100% Verified Canadian Pork™, and that when starting with a whole half, you can slice it as thinly or thickly as you like. And those flavourful ends are the absolute best for tossing into soups, baked beans, mac and cheese – you name it. It’s leftovers season, so there will be plenty of opportunities to recycle those bits.