A croque madame is a more indulgent take on the classic croque monsieur toasted sandwich. It’s kind of like a breakfast muffin made with slices of bread moulded into a muffin shape before being filled with a variety of fillings. Here, we’re using a breakfast/brunch filling of ham, cheese and spinach. They can be prepared in advance and cooked when needed, making them an ideal breakfast standby or dinner party appetizer.
Place ¼ cup of butter in a saucepan and melt.
Add the flour and stir to form a paste (roux).
Slowly add the milk and whisk until smooth. Add the Dijon mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
Finally, stir in the ricotta and set to one side to cool.
Heat a fresh pan until very hot, then add the handfuls of spinach followed by a drop of water. Stir rapidly to wilt the spinach - it will wilt very quickly. Remove the spinach from the pan and drain off any excess moisture using a kitchen towel. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool.
Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (180°C).
Remove the crusts from the bread and use a rolling pin - or even better, a pasta roller - to flatten the bread until very thin.
Use the melted butter to brush both sides of the bread, and to brush the insides of the pudding moulds/ramekins. Push a slice of buttered bread into each of the tins/ramekins, tucking in the corners.
Next, wrap a slice of ham around the inside of the bread to form a ring.
Crack an egg into each of the moulds. If your eggs are large you may need to discard some of the white.
Top each egg with a little wilted spinach, followed by a spoonful of the sauce mixture.
Carefully transfer the croque madames to the air fryer pan and bake for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.