½ cup grated Gruyére cheese
1 tablespoon sour cream or crème fraiche
2 slices good quality ham
2 free range or organic eggs
1 tablespoon white vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
To serve: parsley
Here is my sneaky tribute to the classic French Croque Madame - a plump toasted bagel, topped with melted gruyere cheese, good quality ham and a poached egg. I have nothing against the original, in fact I love it and you will find recipes for Classic Croque Madame and Croissant Croque Monsieur over at Stuck in the Kitchen, but sometimes I must confess, you need something a little more instant, avoiding the complications of a bechamel sauce.
Grill the tops of the bagels and place cut side up on an oven tray. Mix Gruyére and sour cream (or crème fraiche if using) together. Layer ham onto cut bagel tops and smother in cheese mixture.
Return bagels to the grill until the cheese is melted and delicious, whilst bringing a pot of water to a simmer to poach two eggs for 3-4 minutes depending on your preferred degree of runniness - the French like theirs very runny.
Top bagels with poached eggs, season with salt, pepper and parsley and devour. Serve with strong coffee for a truly Parisian breakfast.