Sunday, June 13, 2010

Matane Shrimp and Bechamel Sauce Croque-Monsieur

Pita breads are great to make Croque-Monsieurs, aka warm gourmet sandwiches. I prefer using the wholewheat version over the white ones not only because it's healthier for you, but because it's tastier. Certain white breads are tastier than the whole-grain ones, but when it comes to pita breads, wholewheat is my pick. The great thing about Croque Monsieurs is that, although they are considered by most north americans like fancy grill-cheese sandwiches, they have such a close resemblance to pizzas, because of its oozing cheese, creamy fillings and crisp crust. When toasted, pita breads become crisp and lightly golden.

Without a doubt, the best part of this Croque-Monsieur, is the creamy filling made of a sumptious bechamel sauce, richly flavoured with Matane shrimps, garlic, fresh basil and nutmeg. They're easy to make and they disappear very quickly too! If you can't find Matane shrimps, you'll easily find the equivalent in your local super market. They're small shrimps, already cooked and lightly salted with a tinge of sweetness, often used for shrimp cocktails. I highly recommend to use these little shrimps as they give such a distinct flavour to this dish, as opposed to using regular cooked shrimps might not give the same result as the Matane shrimps.

Preparation: 30 minutes, Baking time : 10-15 minutes.

Recipe "au pif':
1 lb Matane shrimps (or small cooked shrimps peeled and deveined soaked in salt water)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
3-4 wholewheat pita breads, cut in half and opened as pockets
shredded emental or swiss cheese to garnish

Preheat oven at 325F

Preparing the Bechamel sauce:
3 tbsp butter-flavoured margarine or butter
3 tbsp all-purpose white flour
2 1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

From top left clockwise: Matane shrimps, roux, Bechamel sauce with shrimps and basil, wholewheat pita breads cut in half.
Melt the margarine or butter in a medium sized sauce pan, over medium heat. Add the flour and stir with a whisk until the magarine/butter and flour until you obtain a paste. Add in the milk and whisk continuously until the liquid thickens like a roux. Once the liquid has hickened, add in the nutmeg and pepper.

Preparing the Shrimp filling:
Add the garlic and shrimps to the bechamel sauce, still over medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes. Then add the chopped basil and about a handful of shredded swiss or emental cheese. Turn of the heat and put aside. The cheese will melt slowly in the sauce.

Preparing the Croque-Monsieur:For each pita pockets, add in spoonfuls of the shrimp filling. Repeat until you filled the rest of the pita pockets are 3/4 full, each.

Garnish with a little bit of swiss or emental cheese and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the pita bread is lightly toasted.

Serve with a fresh garden salad of your choice.

Makes 6-8 half Croque-Monsieurs.

Share and enjoy.


dining room tables said...

I am so excited with this dish! I like the way you did it and also the combination of the different foods.

AnneH said...

We were looking at your blog.. and R wants to try it.. I think that we will give it a try... I remember eating pizza with asparagus and ham and bechemal sauce on Crescent when we were in university.. fond memories..!