What is it? A variation of the croque monsieur, a croque madame is the same grilled ham-and-cheese sandwich with creamy béchamel sauce, only the madame has an egg (usually fried) on top. The hearty snack originated in French bars, and Gruyère remains the cheese of choice. Substitutions and additions are endless, including Hawaiian-style (with sliced pineapple), Provençal-style (with tomato) and a croque señor (con salsa).
Where can I find it? The new Brasserie Central at Merrick Park (320 San Lorenzo Ave.) in Coral Gables serves both versions: $14 for the monsieur, $15 for the madame. How to make a croque monsieur even better? Put an egg on it — go for the madame.
Evan S. Benn is Miami Herald food editor and Miami.com restaurants editor. Follow him on Twitter: @EvanBenn.