Monte Cristo Sandwich
A well-made (i.e. home-made) Monte Cristo Sandwich is an inspired pairing of oh so tender, batter drenched bread, artisan cheese, and fragrant ham—served hot and oozing. Finished with a dusting of powdered sugar and accompanied by a tart fruit sauce, it’s sublime perfection.
4 thick slices soft white artisan bread (challah or brioche loaf is ideal)
homemade or premium prepared mayonnaise, as needed (I like Best Foods)
Dijon mustard, as needed
4 ounces (4-8 slices) thinly sliced premium ham (I like Boarshead rosemary ham)
4 ounces (4-8 slices) thinly sliced premium Gruyere, Monterey Jack, Fontina, or Havarti cheese (any good melting cheese will work)
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
powdered sugar in a shaker or sieve
homemade or home-style, chunky cranberry sauce
- To prepare sandwiches, on a countertop, lay out four slices of bread and spread each generously with mayonnaise and Dijon.
- Top each slice with a layer of cheese, then a layer of ham.
- To compact, wrap sandwiches tightly with plastic wrap, arrange on a cookie sheet, top with another cookie sheet, and add 4 pounds of weight, evenly distributed. (four, 1-pound cans of tomatoes work here), and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours. This helps compact the sandwiches and prevents the egg batter from penetrating too deeply.
- To prepare batter, in a flat baking dish, whisk eggs, milk, butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt.
- To batter-coat, unwrap the sandwiches, and dip each side in the batter for 20 seconds per side. Each side should be coated evenly.
- To cook, melt butter with oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Place unwrapped sandwiches in the skillet and regulate heat so that it takes about 10 minutes to beautifully brown each side of the sandwiches, turning only once. During the final 2-3 minutes, cover sandwiches with a domed lid to steam-soften the bread and finish melting the cheese.
- To serve, remove sandwiches to a cutting board and cut in quarters diagonally. Arrange, overlapping slightly, on two serving plates, dust with powdered sugar, and accompany with cranberry relish. Serve hot.
Makes 2 sandwiches.