Similar to a grilled cheese sandwich and kind of like French toast, the Monte Cristo is almost as easy to make as it is to eat. It's a tasty delight for lunch, dinner or special occasions when you want to show off a little cooking flair.
Monte Cristo Sandwich Recipe
Some restaurants deep-fry their Monte Cristos, but you can also pan fry them. In fact, if you have a griddle, this is the perfect time to use it because a griddle allows you to make more than one sandwich at a time.
- 3 eggs
- 2 slices of bread per sandwich (white or egg bread work best)
- 2 slices of ham per sandwich
- 2 slices of turkey per sandwich
- 2 slices of sharp Swiss cheese per sandwich
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Butter to grease the pan or griddle
- Confectioner's sugar (for dusting the sandwich)
- Jam to serve on the side, like blackberry or red currant
- Mix together the mayonnaise and Dijon mustard, and set aside.
- Beat together the eggs, milk, and nutmeg until well-blended and just a bit foamy.
- Set the pan over medium-high heat on the stove or preheat the griddle.
- Place a pat of butter in the pan, using enough to coat the bottom.
- Spread a thin layer of the mayonnaise/Dijon mixture on each slice of bread.
- Place a slice of Swiss cheese on one slice of bread.
- Top with two slices of ham, two slices of turkey, and one slice of Swiss cheese.
- Top with a slice of bread, and then trim the crusts off the bread.
- Dip the sandwich into the egg mixture.
- Flip it over so that both sides are coated with the batter.
- Place the sandwich in the frying pan or on the griddle, and fry for about three minutes per side.
- Add more butter as necessary while frying the rest of the sandwiches.
- Remove to a cutting board and slice in half diagonally.
- Dust with the confectioner's sugar.
- Serve with the jam on the side.
Hints and Tips
- If you know ahead of time that you are going to be making Monte Cristos, pre-assemble the sandwiches, trim the crusts, and wrap them in plastic. Wrapping the sandwiches and letting them rest helps them hold together better while they fry.
- For the truly hungry, a double-decker sandwich made with three slices of bread is very satisfying.
- Experiment with variations using your favorite luncheon meats and cheeses, such as spicy salami and provolone cheese.
Monte Cristo History
The history of the Monte Cristo sandwich originates in France around 1910. The French sandwich is called a Croque-Monsieur, which loosely translates to "Mister Crunch" in English.
The Croque-Monsieur is made with ham and either emmental (hard Swiss) or Gruyere cheese, which is grilled and served as a grilled cheese sandwich. Sometimes, the top slice of bread has additional cheese melted onto it, which means the the diner must eat the sandwich with a knife and fork like an open face sandwich and other times, it is served with béchamel sauce. When a fried egg is added to the top of a Croque-Monsieur, it is called a Croque-Madame.
Once the Mister Crunch made it across the Atlantic, the composition of the sandwich got more complicated. What started as a simple and elegant sandwich turned into a mixture of French toast and grilled cheese. Today, the standard sandwich contains ham and cheese, but that is just about the only thing all the various recipes have in common. In fact, there are recipes for the Monte Cristo that use turkey rather than ham.
Make a Monte Cristo Today
The Monte Cristo is a unique sandwich that you should try. Start with the basic recipe above and add your own variations once you've tasted the original.