I was in college when I learned about the Monte Cristo Sandwich. I have no idea why I never encountered this multi-decker sandwich prior to then, but when a friend described it as a variation of Croque Monsieur, it all came together, and I had to try one. Glorious and unique are two words that come to mind!
Some versions of Monte Cristo Sandwiches are deep fried, but I prefer to use a skillet. With the sweet and savory flavor profile, it reminds me of a grilled ham and cheese combined with French toast.
Since these sandwiches are hearty, I like to serve them with fresh fruit. Even if it is just orange wedges, the fruit helps the balance of the meal. Strawberries, blueberries, or any fresh fruit goes very well with a Monte Cristo.
Have fun with ingredients. Traditionally, a Monte Cristo Sandwich has Swiss cheese, but you can get creative! Other great cheeses are Gruyère, Emmental, or Jarlsberg. Using a strong cheese is an important part but Swiss is not the only option.
3 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup Half and Half or whole milk
3 Tbsp. butter
12 slices of sturdy white bread
¼ cup mayonnaise
8 slices Gruyère or Swiss cheese
¼ lb. deli sliced turkey – Oven Roasted preferably
¼ lb. deli sliced ham – Black Forest or Virginia ham preferably
Red currant jelly, Blackberry Jam – Optional
Confectioners’ Sugar – Optional
In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs and the milk.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
Assemble the Sandwiches
On a cutting board, lay 4 pieces of bread down and top with 1 slice of cheese on each piece of bread. Place ¼ of the ham on top of each piece of cheese.
Take 4 more slices of bread and spread about ½ Tbsp. of mayonnaise on one side.
Place the mayonnaise side down on top of the ham, then spread another ½ Tbsp. of mayonnaise on the opposite side of the bread. Repeat with the 3 remaining sandwiches.
Next, place ¼ of the turkey on top of each sandwich, then top with another slice of cheese.
Place the last 4 slices of bread on top of each sandwich.
Press down on each sandwich firmly to press together slightly.
Dipping and Cooking the Sandwiches
Dip each sandwich quickly into the egg and milk mixture. You want them coated, but not soaked.
Place the sandwiches in the heated skillet with the butter.
Cook until the bread is toasted and the cheese on the bottom half of each sandwich is melted. Carefully flip the sandwich over and cook the other side.
Slice the sandwiches in half to serve and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Serve with a side of red currant jelly or blackberry jam for dipping, if desired.
• Bread: White bread is really the way to go and choose one with a thicker slice because it will seal the best – thin sandwich bread will not hold together
• Mustard: Enhance the flavor with a Dijon mustard or a spicy brown mustard along with the mayonnaise.
• Meats: Thinly sliced deli ham and turkey are the best. I like plain Oven Roasted Turkey and either Black Forest or Virginia ham.
• Cheese: Traditionally this sandwich made with Gruyère or Swiss, but unsmoked Provolone works as well.
• Jam: Sweet-tart red currant jelly is classic for a Monte Cristo, but you can also use blackberry or raspberry jam.