This meat-free, mushroom-forward take on a classic croque madame hits all the right notes—creamy, rich, umami, and cheesy. Instead of the classic sandwich composition, I like to serve these “mushroom madames” as open-faced toasts. Thick slices of crusty bread get a schmear of creamy béchamel sauce and are topped with a handful of grated cheese that gets melted under the broiler. The toasts are served topped with garlicky sautéed mushrooms and a sunny-side-up egg. Add a green salad and a glass of wine, and you’ve got the perfect weeknight dinner.
- Make the béchamel. Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the flour and whisk constantly for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the flour to cook, taking care to keep the mixture from browning. Slowly stream in the milk a bit at a time, whisking all the while. At first the mixture will bubble rapidly and form a thick paste, but it will thin out as more milk is added. Once all the milk has been added, continue whisking until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and nutmeg and set aside.
- Place a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil followed by the mushrooms. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the mushrooms are tender and a bit browned. Add the salt, garlic, and butter, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more before removing the mushrooms to a plate.
- Heat the broiler on high. Wipe out the skillet that was used for the mushrooms and place it over medium-high heat. Add the bread in a single layer—this may need to be done in batches—and toast for about 2 minutes. Flip the bread and repeat on the other side. Spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of the béchamel sauce on each slice of bread, then top with grated cheese. Place the skillet under the broiler for 3 to 4 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Meanwhile, fry the eggs sunny-side up in a medium skillet using the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- To assemble, place each toast on a plate and top with mushrooms and a fried egg. Serve immediately.
- Note: The béchamel can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Zola Gregory is a writer and recipe developer based in Seattle. Having previously worked as a pastry chef and baker, she now enjoys helping others find success in their own kitchens through her stories, recipes, and baking classes.