Monte Cristofrom The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches by Susan Russo
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Butter for bread, plus more for frying
4 slices bread (white or egg bread, such as challah)
4 slices baked ham
4 slices turkey
4 slices Swiss cheese Confectioners' sugar, for serving
Red currant jelly, jelly of your choice, or sweet mustard, for serving
This and many other wonderful recipes may be found in The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches
by Susan Russo from Quirk Books
This American version of the Croque-Monsieur consists of ham, turkey, or chicken paired with Swiss cheese between two slices of white or challah bread that is then dipped in an egg batter and grilled or fried in butter until golden brown. The crispy, savory result is often dusted with confectioners' sugar and served with a side of red currant jelly.
It's not often that a food owes its popularity to both French cuisine and America's Disneyland, yet such is the case with the Monte Cristo. American cookbooks from the 1930s to the '50s include numerous variations bearing less exotic names, such as the French Toasted Cheese Sandwich and the French Sandwich. Though no single American is credited with its creation, California is considered its home. It first appeared on the menu at Gordon's, a restaurant once located on Wilshire Bodlevard in Los Angeles, but got its big break when Disneyland's Blue Bayou Restaurant put it on the menu. Though not widely popular today, the Monte Cristo still holds an old-fashioned charm and can be found on menus of both high-end - hotels and mom-and-pop eateries.
Red currant jelly is widely available, but strawberry or mixed-berry jelly make good substitutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Butter both sides of each slice of bread. Fold 2 slices each ham, turkey, and Swiss cheese between bread. Close sandwiches.
Melt butter on a griddle or in a large frying pan over medium-high heat (pan should be coated). One at a time, dip each sandwich into egg mixture, allowing excess to drip into bowl. Fry about 3 minutes per side, or until both sides are golden brown, adding butter as necessary.
Cut each sandwich on the diagonal. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve with a side of jelly or sweet mustard. Makes 2
For a sweeter take, use egg bread and serve with dusted confectioners' sugar, fruit jellies, and fresh fruit. For a more savory version, use white or wheat bread, skip the confectioners' sugar and fruit, and serve with a side of mayo or sweet mustard and some sliced pickles.
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