National Monte Cristo Day

Warning! If you are dieting, stop reading now. Just look away.

I am a sucker for fabulous local eats when we travel. Thus, in France, a Croque-Monsieur always lands on our plate at some roadside bistro… along with a glass of wine. The thick Béchamel sauce with toasty cheese on top delights the tastebuds.

The Monte Cristo provides a scrumptious twist on that classic that turns the luscious Parisian grilled ham and cheese sandwich into a French toast delicacy… crispy on the outside and melty yumminess inside! If you are new to this, brace yourself. It’s love at first bite.

Super Simple Monte Cristo

Traditionally, these are served sprinkled with Confectioners’ sugar or powdered monkfruit or other sweetener, but that is optional.

For each sandwich:

2 slices sourdough or other sturdy bread

1 T each: Dijon (or country-style) mustard and mayonnaise

¼ lb sliced ham (plus ¼ lb sliced chicken or turkey, if desired)

¼ c shredded Gruyere cheese (or Havarti)

Butter

1 lg egg, beaten with 2-3 T half-and-half cream and a pinch of salt, pepper, & ground nutmeg in a shallow dish

Spread 1 slice of bread with mustard and spread the other slice with mayonnaise. Top with ham (& poultry if using) and sprinkle with cheese. Top with 2nd bread slice and press down a bit. Melt butter in skillet over med heat. Dip sandwich in egg mixture, turning to coat all sides (as in preparing French toast). Place sandwich in skillet and cook 2-3 minutes on both sides. Serve hot, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and/or drizzled with melted jelly, if desired.

KISS Tips: To fancify, trim crusts off the bread slices. To serve as tapas portions, trim away crusts after filling sandwich; then slice diagonally into quarters before cooking. These are delightful served with a melted currant (or other) natural all-fruit jelly or even a 100% maple syrup for dipping.

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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