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How do you make a Monte Cristo?

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?

Do tell.

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  1. I don't eat or make them but I was under te impression that French toast was the standard bread whether or not you go savory or sweet.

    3 Replies
    1. re: melpy

      I've seen iterations where the whole sandwich (bread, meat and cheese) are dipped in egg.

      But what do I know ...

      1. re: ipsedixit

        I meant doesn't it end up being dipped and fried whether or not it is the sum of the parts or te individual ingredients. Obviously we are all on the same page.

        1. re: melpy

          I think if you use french toast, you end up double dipping (so to speak) and frying twice, at least with the bread component.

    2. 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.

      1 Reply
      1. re: gildeddawn

        I do almost the same- but usually use scali bread, and I serve with maple syrup- but strawberry jam sounds delicious!

      2. I make mine very much like this http://allrecipes.com/recipe/monte-cr... but I use a little sweet mustard on the bread. I serve with strawberry jam.

        2 Replies
        1. re: travelerjjm

          See, I think this is the traditional method.

          I wonder how this method would work with French Toast (and not white bread) as the bread to begin with.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            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.

        2. 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.
          Gotta.

          :)

          Not a "make at home" dish for me and twice a year brunch dish out at most.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jjjrfoodie

            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.

          2. 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.

              1. re: c oliver

                The traditional way, but I like to serve them savory with a condiment cocktail of soy sauce, hoisin and Sriracha.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  So like travelerjim above? And the "condiment cocktail" is for dipping?

                  1. re: c oliver

                    Yes, but usu. no cheese. And yes the cocktail is for dipping (instead of the traditional jam)

                  2. re: ipsedixit

                    Soy?? kinda salty dont' you think? and Hoisin, what meats and cheese would go well with those two gems?

                    1. re: treb

                      No cheese (don't like cheese).

                      Sliced turkey breast (or roast beef if I have leftovers)

                2. I haven't done them in years, but I did the ham turkey swiss american whole wheat-like battered deep-fried powdered sugared raspberry jam kind. Kinda low-brow, but yum.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sandylc

                    No such thing as low-brow when it comes to Monte Cristos.

                  2. We love this monte cristo recipe from Chow:
                    http://www.chow.com/recipes/29999-mon...

                    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.