Recipe: Smoked Salmon Croque Madames

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.

In fact, I'm perfectly happy eating cereal for dinner on a busy/lazy weeknight.

But if I want to kick dinner up a notch — and still get my breakfast fix — I might make this recipe from Martha Stewart Living magazine.

It's like eating at a French cafe without the pricey plane ticket.

Yield: 4 servings

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2/3 cup whole milk

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

8 slices white Pullman bread or thinly sliced sandwich bread

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

5 ounces smoked salmon

1/4 cup small dill sprigs, plus more for garnish

2 cups grated Comte cheese

4 large eggs

Make the bechamel sauce: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a wide medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour; cook, whisking, 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in milk; cook, whisking, until mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Using remaining 4 tablespoons butter, butter 1 side of each piece of bread. Set aside 4 slices. Spread unbuttered sides of remaining 4 slices with mustard; top with salmon. Scatter dill over salmon. Top each with 1/4 cup cheese. Sandwich with remaining bread, buttered side up.

Preheat broiler. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add sandwiches; cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Spread 2 tablespoons reserved bechamel sauce on top of each sandwich; sprinkle each with 1/4 cup remaining cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbling and golden brown.

Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Crack eggs into skillet. Cover, and cook until whites are set but yolks are still soft, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Place 1 egg on top of each sandwich, and serve.