The Monte Cristo used to be my dad's go to brunch order at our favorite (sadly, now closed) family breakfast place in Newport, RI. As a kid, I remember thinking that this French toast/club sandwich hybrid sounded kind of gross... as an adult, that savory sweet combination is exactly what I'm looking for in a brunch-- or in our case, dinner-- dish! After doing a little research to finalize my recipe though, I have found that a lot of people still echo my earlier "gross!" sentiments about this sandwich, making it quite the controversial brunch menu item. In fact, a few days after we made them I saw this episode of Gilmore Girls (watch here starting at 4:14) with a funny bit about the "disgusting ridiculous sandwich that no one has ever ordered." There are also lots of ideas about how it should be made: baked, pan fried, or deep fried; topped with syrup, jam, powdered sugar, or combination of the three... you see what I am getting at here. Regardless of the controversy, I thought they were tasty and Alex was skeptical, but also agreed. Here is my take on making them:
At Ocean Breeze (the family favorite spot I mentioned earlier), the Monte Cristo was more of a Croque Monsieur meets French Toast and that was my inspiration for our sandwich. Essentially, you build a sandwich with layers of sliced ham, turkey and Swiss cheese with a little Dijon mustard spread inside two thick slices of bread and then dip the bread in an egg custard before pan-frying until the bread becomes golden and the cheese melty. Like French toast, I serve this messy sandwich with a knife and fork and a combination of maple syrup (because that's how I have seen it served before) and raspberry jam (because after doing research, this topping frequently came up and I liked the sound of it). I have seen it topped with powdered sugar before, but I liked the idea of the sweet maple and raspberry flavors along with the punchy mustard and Swiss. It turned out to be a winning combination and an easy, but decadent dish.
It's the perfect dish for when you can't decide what you're in the mood for: breakfast or dinner, savory or sweet. This dish has you covered!
- Cooking spray
- 1 Tbs. mayonnaise
- 1/2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 Tbs. whole grain mustard
- 4 slices white Italian bread
- 4 slices Swiss cheese
- 4 slices turkey breast
- 4 slices ham
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp. Paprika
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Maple syrup and raspberry jam, for serving
Coat a griddle or large frying pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.
In a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise and mustards together. Set aside.
To assemble the sandwiches, place two slices of bread on your work surface-- these will the bases of your two sandwiches.
Spread each slice of bread evenly with half of the mustard and mayonnaise mixture. Top with one slice of cheese. Continue by layering two slices of turkey and two slices of ham on each. Top with another slice of cheese.
Spread the remaining mustard and mayonnaise mixture evenly over the inside of the remaining two bread slices. Place the slices sauce-side down on the prepared sandwich halves and set aside.
In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, paprika, and salt and pepper, to taste. Holding the sandwiches together with your hands or tongs, carefully place each one in the egg mixture bread-side down, allowing the bread to fully soak in the egg mixture. Flip the sandwiches to allow the other slice of bread to do the same.
Transfer the sandwiches to the hot griddle or pan and cook covered on low until the bread is golden and cheese begins to melt. Carefully flip the sandwiches over, cover, and cook until the other half of the sandwich is brown as well.
Transfer the warm sandwiches to a plate and top with maple syrup and raspberry jam. Enjoy with a fork and knife.