Remember Bennigan's Restaurant? Maybe you still have one in your area. The one near me closed years ago but I still remember one of my favorite items on their menu, Monte Cristo. Recently I went about trying to make this classic sandwich at home
Layers of deli ham, turkey and cheese between bread slices are dipped into an egg batter then fried to a crispy golden brown ~ so good!
I personally love it with a spread of raspberry jam and a sprinkle of confectioners' sugar but you can use maple syrup if you want to add a hint of sweetness.
I am sharing two Monte Cristo versions here, one a classic batter-dipped and pan-fried in oil, although not deep fried. Then I tried to lighten it up a bit and grilled a Monte Cristo in a skillet using a little butter, much like making a grilled cheese sandwich.
As if making both of these recipes weren't enough to keep us in sandwich heaven, I made two additional versions that are baked. I will be sharing them in a post soon.
. Monte Cristo Sandwich
Serves 4. Serving size is 1/2 of a sandwich.
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons water
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 slices bread (whole wheat, white or potato)
8 thin slices ham
8 thin slices turkey
8 thin slices Swiss, American or cheese of choice
Vegetable oil for frying
Raspberry preserves or Jam
Whisk the egg and water together in a mixing bowl. Add flour, salt, and baking powder and whisk thoroughly until smooth.
Arrange 2 slices of ham, turkey, and cheese on 2 slices of bread, Place another slice of bread on top and arrange 2 more slices of ham, turkey and cheese on this slice. Top with third slice of bread; slice each sandwich in half diagonally.
Heat oil to between 365 degrees F and 375 degrees F in a 10-inch pan. Holding the layers together, dip half a sandwich into the batter, completely coating, Drain excess batter, and very carefully place into the hot oil.
Repeat with the other sandwich half. Cook 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Place the cooked sandwich on the cooling rack. Keep in a warm oven until ready to serve. Repeat with the other sandwich.
Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and serve with raspberry preserves or maple syrup.
For a lighter version, try cooking the Monte Cristo by grilling to eliminate the oil and mess of frying. Grill using a little butter on a grill-pan and cook over medium heat until nicely golden brown on each side.