I love a good baked sandwich this time of year. It's a great compliment to a salad or small bowl of soup. This is one of my favorites. It's sort of a vegetarian twist on the classic croque monsieur. I guess you could call this a croque pomme et fromage, maybe? It's a crispy apple and cheese sandwich. If any of our French speaking readers want to weigh in on this, feel free!
Whatever you call it, this sandwich has it all: crispy apples paired with melted cheese all baked together on sourdough bread with pesto and spinach. The following recipe allows you to make three or four sandwiches at once, but if you are making less, just cut back on the amount of sauce (béchamel) you make at once.
8 slices of sourdough bread
8 tablespoons of butter, divided
2 tablespoons pesto (store bought or homemade)
1-2 apples (depending on size)
8 slices of provolone cheese
2 big handfuls of spinach
3 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup milk
salt + pepper
1-2 teaspoons chopped parsley for garnish, optional
First, I just assemble the sandwiches so they are ready once my sauce is done.
Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a small bowl or dish. Brush onto the outside of two slices of bread. Assemble the sandwiches so each one has pesto, thinly sliced apple (I like to use a mandoline for this), spinach and a slice of provolone.
Next, make your sauce by melting the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter in a small pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until a thick paste forms. Then whisk in the milk and season with a little salt and pepper. After a minute or so, it will begin to thicken into a gravy. Immediately remove from the heat and pour the sauce over the top of each sandwich. Add another slice of provolone cheese, and then bake the sandwiches under the broiler until bubbly and well toasted. You may need to rotate the pan so each sandwich gets toasted evenly, but just keep an eye on them so they don't burn.
Top with a little chopped parsley and serve warm. You've gotta make these sometime this season, guys. They're seriously SO good. If you just can't get behind apples and cheese together, then you could change the apple out for sautéed mushrooms. Up to you. Enjoy! xo. Emma
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.