Tomato Croque Monsieur

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“A delicious vegetarian version that pairs well with inexpensive but good red or white wines. If your tomatoes are not very moist you can omit some of the draining time, like I did. I made this with a processed gruyere cheese (which was all the store had) and Italian flavored bread crumbs. Can be served as canapes (quartered) or makes six sandwiches. Published in the New York Times.”
24 canapes

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 lbs tomatoes, meaty and ripe, peeled, seeded, juiced and coarsely chopped (dip in boiling water for 30 seconds to peel easily)
  • 12 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons basil leaves, minced
  • 14 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 slices white bread (firm, crusts trimmed if desired)
  • 4 -6 ounces gruyere cheese (thinly sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons oil


  1. With a food processor running, drop in garlic until minced. Turn off machine and add tomatoes. Pulse until finely chopped. (This step can also be done manually if preferred, which is how I did it).
  2. Place mixture in a fine sieve over a bowl, stir in salt and allow to drain 30 minutes, pressing down on tomatoes from time to time.
  3. Transfer tomatoes to a bowl and stir in basil and breadcrumbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Arrange half the bread slices on a work surface and spread with tomato mixture. Cover with a thin layer of the cheese and top with remaining bread.
  5. Film a large non-stick skillet with oil. Place as many sandwiches as will fit comfortably and fry over medium-low or medium heat, turning to brown both sides and pressing down lightly with a spatula until golden on both sides. (About 1 1/2 - 2 minutes per side.) Remove to paper towel to drain.
  6. Repeat if necessary while finished sandwiches are kept in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven to be kept warm. Quarter sandwiches on the diagonal for canapes.

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