The Best Monte Cristo
If you’re a fan of a Grilled Ham and Cheese sandwich, you’re going to love the Monte Cristo. It’s, more or less, the French version, with the addition of sliced turkey, invented in the 1930’s and it’s fried and seasoned with confectioners sugar and served with Raspberry jam. There are many different versions of this sandwich, served around the globe at different diners. Some are battered and seared like French Toast, others are battered thicker and deep fried, instead. I’m going to show you how I make a Triple-Decker with these ingredients and a fresh new take on the batter for deep frying.
Monte Cristo Meat and Cheese
When it comes to deli meats, I like them sliced thin. It’s just my personal preference. I use 4 slices of each per sandwich and I recommend using only 2 if you’re using thicker cuts. I purchase Mesquite Smoked Turkey and Sweet Smoked Ham for this recipe. It generally costs me around $5 dollars per lbs for each.
The Cheese used in this recipe calls for Swiss and Cheddar Cheese. Thanks to Covid-19, my kids school continued providing school lunches and they gave us a few blocks of Swiss Cheese and I purchased medium cheddar cheese, from my grocery store. You can change it up any way you like it but that’s the basic recommended recipe.
Monte Cristo Bread
I couldn’t find much on the specific type of bread used to make a Monte Cristo but, it is my understanding that this sandwich was inspired by the French Croque Monsieur. That sandwich uses Brioche, which is similar to a highly enriched pastry, which is light and slightly puffy.
In this recipe I chose to go with Sourdough bread because it makes excellent French Toast and I think it’s best for the Batter I’m making. An Artisan White is an amazing bread to use too, however, and it is great for grilling with melted butter but, I would only use this bread for this sandwich if I was using the basic egg and milk wash when pan frying.
The typical White Round Top loaf of bread is practical, cheap and commonly used as well. Usually the crusts are cut off to make it look more luxurious but it will work for a pan or deep fry. Just use what you have, though, and it will turn out great no matter what you choose!
Serving a Monte Cristo Sandwich
Many restaurants serve the Monte Cristo as more of a savory sandwich with the addition of Sweet for garnishment. This sandwich is covered inside with Mayonnaise on ever slice of bread and Mustard on only the top and bottom pieces and, once the sandwich is battered and deep fried, confectioners sugar is sprinkled over the top and served with Raspberry Jam.
A few additional ingredients grace the batter to make this recipe top notch. Like many French Toast recipes, I felt like it was appropriate to add some cinnamon, nutmeg, a pinch of cayenne and some orange zest. A good alternative, if you’re avoiding the sweeteners, use garlic and onion powder instead of the cinnamon and nutmeg.
Deep Fried Monte Cristo Ingredients:
Ingredients for 1 Sandwich
1 loaf Sour dough Bread, 3 slices per Sandwich
4 slices Smoked Ham, thinly sliced or 2 thick slices
4 slices Smoked Turkey, thinly sliced or 2 thick slices
1/4 cup Swiss Cheese, grated or 2 slices
1/4 cup Cheddar Cheese, grated or 2 slices
4 tbsp Mayonnaise
2 tsp Mustard
Batter for 2 Sandwich’s
1 cup Self Rising Flour
1 cup milk
1/8 tsp Garlic Powder or Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Onion Powder or Nutmeg
pinch of Cayenne
pinch of salt
1 inch Canoil Oil, for frying
Be sure to follow the instructions in the Deep Fried Monte Cristo video tutorial and fry the battered sandwich at 350° Fahrenheit for approximately 30 to 45 seconds, on each side, or until golden brown.