The Monte Cristo Sandwich

The origins of the Monte Cristo sandwich are not entirely known. What is known is that a version of the sandwich was likely served in Paris cafes in the 1920s, and then gained popularity in the U.S. in the 1930s. When it first appeared in American cookbooks it was not called the Monte Cristo, but was rather referenced with its straight-to-the-point name “French Sandwich”. For those unfamiliar with the Monte Cristo, the sandwich posits that breakfast can be enjoyed all day, as the basis of the dish is a sweet and savory blend of a ham sandwich and french toast. 

The brilliance of a Monte Cristo is arguably in its simplicity, as it is just a ham and cheese sandwich that has been battered and fried. But the sweet and savory notes of the dish can be accentuated with a finer selection of ingredients and a few twists to a classic sandwich.

Suggested Pairing: Los Alamos Pinot Noir

The sweet and savory nature of the Monte Cristo lends itself to a complimentary wine pairing with our fruit forward and robust Los Alamos pinot noir. Its ripe cherry and fresh berry fruit profile accompanies the sweet notes of powdered sugar and jam– meanwhile, a touch of acid found in the wine helps cut through the richness of the Monte Cristo. The more savory notes of earth, leather, and forest floor on the wine compliments the smoke and salt found in the Monte Cristo’s ham and turkey.

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices of brioche bread
  • 8 slices of smoked turkey
  • 8 slices of ham
  • 8 slices of Swiss cheese
  • Dijon mustard
  • Raspberry or strawberry jam
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)
  • Parsley for garnish (optional)

Procedure:

  1. Assemble the Sandwiches:
    • Lay out 4 slices of brioche.
    • Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on each slice.
    • Layer 2 slices of turkey, 2 slices of ham, and 2 slices of Swiss cheese on each slice of bread.
    • Top with the remaining 4 slices of bread to create sandwiches.
  2. Prepare the Batter:
    • In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and cinnamon until well combined.
  3. Dip the Sandwiches:
    • Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat and add a tablespoon of butter.
    • Dip each sandwich into the egg mixture, ensuring both sides are well-coated.
  4. Cook the Sandwiches:
    • Place the dipped sandwiches on the hot skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  5. Serve:
    • Remove the sandwiches from the skillet and let them rest for a minute.
    • Cut each sandwich diagonally into halves or quarters.
    • Dust with powdered sugar for a touch of sweetness.
  6. Add a Sweet Twist:
    • Serve the sandwiches with a side of raspberry or strawberry jam for dipping.
  7. Garnish (Optional):
    • Garnish the plate with fresh herbs, such as parsley, for a touch of color and freshness.