How do you make a Monte Cristo?
- ipsedixit Apr 23, 2013 11:40 AM
A recent post on a regional board got me wondering about how people make their Monte Cristo sandwiches at home.
What kind of bread do you use? White? Brioche? Something else?
Or do you gild the lily and use, say, French Toast?
What about the stuff inside. Ham and turkey? Both, or just one or the other?
Or do you get creative with the meat. Say, use something like Serrano ham (or "real" Black Forest Ham), or go ethnic with prosciutto or ghetto with Oscar Meyer Bologna or gnarly with something like Scrapple?
And the cheese. What kind of cheese do you use? Swiss? Cheddar? Something more exotic?
I save my Monte Cristo making for when I've got homemade white sandwich bread. Then, I soak it in custard, French Toast style, made of eggs and cream with a little cinnamon and fry it butter like French Toast. Once it's been fried on both sides, I add ham - usually Black Forest - and turkey and gruyere. Then it goes in a hot oven for a few minutes to make sure the filling gets hot and the cheese is melted. One last quick trip to the frying pan to get a second, crunchy crust on the bread, then straight to a warm plate with strawberry jam on the side.
This is very traditional and that's what I like :) If you used French Toast, then dipped and fried it, wouldn't that be a lot of coating? I mean you're basically soaking the bread in egg and milk and frying, then soaking the whole sandwich again and frying (although traditionally the first one is pretty shallow frying), right?
When I make french toast I try to make it thick, so I could never get a sandwich of two pieces in my mouth, LOL. And French Toast is generally made with stale bread or at least bread left out overnite -- I don't do that for Monte Cristo.
In the midwest, "big boy" monte cristos use white bread , ham, cheese, turkey, dip in batter and deep fry once assembled.
Yes--the whole thing.
French toast and no fat deep frying is cute but just a riff.
Good, but just a riff.
Gotta serve syrup or jelly on the side.
Not a "make at home" dish for me and twice a year brunch dish out at most.
In my experience, most midwestern monte cristos are made 'almost' exactly like you described. The ones I've had were dusted with a little powdered sugar after their trip through the fryer. Always raspberry jam on the side. So good, but soooo rich. About six bites and I'm done until next year.
I don't make them at home either. I always have to bring along willing accomplices to a restaurant to share.
Enjoy a traditional MC but, think you can embellish by subbing ingredients, especially the ham, ie. serrano or a moderate level proscuitto, gruyere, something with a nutty back note etc.
We love this monte cristo recipe from Chow:
It has just the right amount of ham, turkey and cheese. The red current jelly is perfect with it, too. I use a heartier white whole wheat sandwich bread, like Arnold or Pepperidge Farm farmhouse white. It holds up well.