Monte Cristo Sandwiches. A cross between a sandwich and french toast. I decided to make them for dinner tonight, and was disappointed that most recipes I found just had you dip the sandwich in egg or egg+milk…that wasn’t sufficient for me…A real, true, delicious Monte Cristo has been battered, then fried. It should taste like carnie food, imo. I found this recipe, which I used as my jumping off point, and created a family-pleasing sandwich that is equally as delicious with or without jelly (I like mine with).
According to what I have found online (*cough* wikipedia), the Monte Cristo should be ham and cheese (though many recipes add turkey). It seems that traditionally, Gruyere or Swiss is used. Personally, I’m not a fan of swiss. Tonight, I used provolone, because it’s one of my favs and I don’t typically have Gruyere on hand. Many recipes claim that currant jelly on the side is most proper, though I find no historical claim for this. We used strawberry. You can use mayo or mustard on these sandwiches, if you desire. I left mine dry, because my kids are all picky and I was making them all the same. The amount of ham, cheese and bread you use will depend on the size of your bread. I used one sliced loaf of grocery store french bread, the slices were pretty small, and it made 11 smaller sandwiches, enough for almost everyone in my family to have two.
Whatever you use in your components, it’s a delicious tasty treat and a fun change for dinner…or breakfast.
MONTE CRISTO SANDWICHES
Makes 4-6 servings
14-20 slices of french bread
7-10 large slices of uncured deli ham
4-6 slices of gruyere, swiss or provolone cheese, sliced in half
mayo or mustard as desired
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
oil for deep frying (I use a combo of coconut oil and olive or palm oil)
jam, jelly or preserves in any flavor
Form your sandwiches. Each sandwich, depending on the size of your bread, will use 1-2 slices of ham and a half-slice of cheese. Attempt to keep the meat and cheese inside the borders of your bread. If you want to, you can cut the crust off your bread, this helps the batter stick to the sides.
Make the batter: Whisk together the eggs and milk in a wide shallow container (you will use this for sandwich dipping). In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and whisk until smooth.
Heat your oil over medium-high in a deep pan until a small piece of bread dropped in starts to bubble immediately. After your first batch, you may want to turn the heat down to medium. Use enough oil that the oil comes up at least half-way up the side of each sandwich.
Flatten each sandwich with your hand, and one by one, dip into the batter, turning it over and fully covering the sides. Using tongs, hold the sandwich over the batter for a few seconds to let any excess drip off, then place in your prepared pan. Fry 1-3 at a time, depending on the size of your pan. Flip each over once it is golden brown on one side and cook the other side. Remove each sandwich to a plate covered in paper towels. When all are fried, place in a single layer on a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with jelly on the side, if desired.
REAL FOOD ALERT:
Use uncured ham. There are some great brands in the deli aisle of the grocery store, like Hormel’s Natural Choice, and many gorcery stores have their own brands of “natural foods’ which include uncured meats. you can also find uncured ham at many deli counters. I know that Boars Head has one available.
Check your french bread for additives. Make your own if you have time. Here’s my recipe.
Use a natural jam or jelly to avoid corn syrup.
FOOD ALLERGY ALERT:
This isn’t a very allergy-friendly recipe. Wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs. You can get around dairy by subbing for the milk and not adding cheese. I haven’t tried this recipe with GF bread and flour, so if you do, let me know your results!