14 December 2009

2007 Cuvée A Midnight Saignée

The croque-monsieur is, in its basic form, just a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Some might roll their eyes at the thought of giving something so simple a fancy name*, but it basically means "Mister Crunchy" back in France. There are dozens of variations on this theme, but I found myself with the ingredients and appetite for a croque-madame, which is topped with a fried egg and a béchamel sauce. I tweaked it a bit, trying out blindfolded eggs and a sauce mornay (béchamel plus cheese and spices).

The blindfolded eggs are fun (act like you're frying an egg, but throw in some water and cover so it steams the yolk), just don't overcook them. As for the sandwich? Savory and delicious. I wish open-faced sandwiches were more popular; there's so much that you can do with them.

For wine I cracked open the 2007 Cuvée A Midnight Saignée from Anne Amie Vineyards in the Willammette Valley of Oregon. $14, 13% abv, pure Pinot Noir. Some of the greatest dry rosés are made with Pinot Noir, and this specimen is wonderful with its striking salmon color. Delicate wild strawberry aroma, tart ripe berry flavors with a touch of brambly earthiness. There's a slight green tea finish--just a hint of tannins to remind you that you're drinking red grapes.

While this was a fun and delicious pairing with the croque-madame, I think it would be a great match for grilled seafood. That dash of bright acidity would really help bring out the flavors of trout or redfish.

*My favorite example of a goofy French food is the name for little scraps of pastry dough that are deep fried: pets de nonne. Follow the link to find out what it means!


Michael Hughes said...

Great wine. I think that rose is quite delicious & I just adore Oregon. Anne Amie focuses on sustainable farming so thats even better!

Benito said...


I've had some of Anne Amie's white wines in Ohio... No notes, unfortunately, but I was impressed enough to grab the first bottle I saw locally.

I'm going to have to do a road trip through Pacific Northwest wine regions at some point. There's just too much awesome wine coming out of those little valleys.


Michael Hughes said...

Yes! You definitely need to take a trip through the Pac NW! Let me know when you go so I can recommend some places.

Anthony said...

I agree totally with the open faced sandwich idea, they are so versatile. I just think most Americans are too straight laced to try something a little different.

Benito said...


There's a few regional open-faced sandwiches, like the Kentucky Hot Brown. And certainly a lot of "bruscetta" has become so laden with ingredients that it's practically in this category.

I don't know what the resistance is. Does it feel weird eating a sandwich with a knife and fork? They can't easily be carried in a lunchbag? I've always found them fun because of the greater freedom with sauces and opportunities for decorative plating.


fredric koeppel said...

making a perfect bechamel or mornay sauce is one of the most satisfying accomplishments in life.

that rose sounds great, I'll have to try it.

& I haven't had a Hot Brown in years, in fact not since I stayed at The Brown about 20 years ago.

Samantha Dugan said...

The open faced sandwich is not unheard of here is SoCal, seems to be getting a little bigger as a matter of fact, and I could not be happier. Favorite dinner around the Dugan house is thick cut toast rubbed with a piece of garlic, topped with a couple slices Serrano ham and a poached egg. Serve with a side salad with a lemon and garlic dressing...perfect and would likely be great with Rose as well.

Benito said...


Agreed on the joy of making sauce. Learn the basic mother sauces, and the world is your oyster... topped with béchamel, mushrooms, and breadcrumbs and thrown under the broiler. ;)

I haven't had a Hot Brown at The Brown, but I had several in Louisville and the sandwich was even on the lunch menu at River Oaks a year or so ago. It's a good combination, but many places don't heat the turkey first. The end result is a massive core of cold lunch meat in the middle of an otherwise hot, savory experience.


That sounds delicious, and I love the idea of having a nice salad with something like this. The natural inclination over here would be to serve it with fries or hash browns, but you need a little balance to keep it all from being too heavy.