This was a single-sauce meal (imagine that!), one I've made before in different versions. With Parmesan and garlic on pasta, with mozzarella on lasagna, with cheddar for good old-fashioned mac & cheese.
Mornay Sauce (Béchamel)
A traditional Mornay uses Gruyère and Parmesan and dates back to the 1800s in restaurant use. It may possibly go back to even the early 1600s - named after the duc de Mornay, though then it would have been based on a velouté rather than a béchamel as béchamel had not yet been invented. Hmm, the things you learn.
Of course given the different tastes of cheeses, this sauce has a huge range of uses. For this use, I made croque-monsieur sandwiches, which I'd never had. And I found that I had been missing out.
Beginning with a roux (mine cooked into the blond stage), milk was added and the sauce thickened. Shredded swiss cheese and a bit of salt and pepper finished it off. Done!
Sandwiches: also simple. Bread plus sliced black forest ham, buttered and grilled. Then the Mornay sauce was added to the top, a little more cheese for good measure, and under the broiler. They were quick to make but made for a perfect lunch with a salad. Delicious!
These, I decided, are what grilled cheese sandwiches dream of growing up to become.