Madame’s take on the tried-and-true Croque Madame. This decadent sandwich has two layers of truffle, egg, ham, sweet and nutty Gruyere, Emmental and lightly pickled beetroot. The pickled beetroot cuts perfectly through the richness, while complementing the truffle with earthiness and its touch of acid from pickling.

Vegetarians can enjoy just as much deliciousness by removing the ham.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 tbsp butter, plus extra for buttering sourdough
4 slices sourdough (we’ve used Candied Bakery’s Apple Sourdough)
2 slices ham, thickly cut
6 slices Gruyere, sweet and nutty is best
2 slices Emmental
1/2 cup Béchamel
4 slices pickled beetroot, cut into matchsticks
2 eggs
30 g Australian black truffle, thinly shaved
Truffle Salt by Madame Truffles, to taste

Béchamel (makes about 1 cup)

250 ml full cream milk
5 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
25 g butter
20 g flour
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
A generous pinch of sea salt

Pickled Beetroot

3 beetroots, washed and trimmed
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
½ cup caster sugar
2 star anise
10 peppercorns
6 cardamom pods, bruised
1 bay leaf

Method

Preheat oven to 180 fan grill. Thinly cut four slices of sourdough and butter one side of each. Place the four slices under the grill, with the buttered side up. Grill for 3-4 minutes, or until lightly golden and toasted. Remove from grill.

Top two of the slices of toasted sourdough equally with sliced beetroot. On top of the beetroot, place 3 slices of Gruyere and a slice of Emmental. Grill until the cheese has melted then remove.

Place one slice of ham each on top of the melted cheese. Then spoon 1 ½ tablespoons of béchamel on top, being careful not spread it too far to the edges of the bread. On the béchamel, evenly layer 10 g of thinly shaved black truffle on each. Place the untoasted side of the other piece of sourdough on top of the truffle to make a sandwich, then spread 1 tablespoon of Béchamel on top of each.

To cook the eggs, place 10 g butter in a fry pan on medium heat. When the butter starts to bubble, crack in 2 eggs and cook until the white is firm but yolk is still runny. Place sunny side of egg on top of each sandwich. Season each egg with two generous pinches of sea salt and layer half remaining black truffle on top.

Serve immediately.

Béchamel

Put the milk, peppercorns and bay leaf in a small saucepan. Bring slowly to a simmer on medium heat. When starting to simmer, take it off the heat and drain the milk through a sieve into a small bowl. Discard peppercorns and bay leaf.

Clean the saucepan and place it back on the stove over a low heat. Add butter. When melted, add the flour and stir continuously for 1 minute. Be careful not to let the mixture brown at all. Add the hot milk in small amounts, stirring continuously until all the milk has been incorporated and the sauce is smooth.

Pickled Beetroot

Preheat oven to 200 degrees (fan). Wrap the trimmed beetroots individually in foil and roast in the oven for 45 mins or until tender. Leave to cool, unwrap and remove skins, which should peel off easily. Slice each beetroot into 0.5 cm thickness and pack tightly into 2-3 medium sized sterlised glass jars.

Put the vinegar, water, sugar, star anise, peppercorns, cardamom pods and bay leaf in a saucepan and bring to the boil. When boiling, take off the heat and pour the liquid into the jars filled with beetroot. Put the lids on and place the jars in a saucepan. Fill the saucepan with water until just under the lid. Boil the water for 5-10 minutes. Leave the jars to cool in the saucepan then remove from water and keep in the cupboard until you need them. Keep opened jars in the fridge.