Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Monte Cristo Sandwich

Last time we went to Disneyland we were robbed. Not literally, but robbed of our favorite sandwich, The Monte Cristo. We always get them at the Blue Bayou Restaurant. You know, the restaurant where it looks like you're sitting outside at night, even though you're inside in the middle of the day. The one that over looks the boats as they head off for Pirates of the Caribbean. We must, I say MUST, eat there every time we visit the Magic Kingdom. It's just tradition. It's just how it is. On our last trip I thought I'd be super duper clever and make reservations way ahead. So we wouldn't have to wait, so we could get a seat right on the water. On our last day in the park, we arrived 15 minutes before our 6:00pm reservation, requested a seat on the water and were seated at a lovely waterside table 20 minutes later. I was pretty pleased with myself. Then we opened our menus to discover, in horror, that the Monte Cristo isn't served at dinner. WHAT!!! Say it ain't so. I begged, pleaded and all but got on my hands and knees trying to convince the waiter to order the coveted sandwich for us but it just wasn't to be. We would leave the park without our beloved Monte Cristo. (We actually had a very nice dinner once we got over the absence of the sandwich.)

Still feeling robbed weeks later, I decided to try and make them at home. Traditionally, Monte Cristo sandwiches are deep fried. If you've read my post on Funnel Cakes, then you know how I feel about deep frying at home. YUCK, too messy. It's best left to professional chefs in professional kitchens. There must be another way. So I Googled, and Pinterested and found several grilled Monte Cristo sandwich recipes. I read through them, got the general idea, tweaked the proportions, meats and cheeses for our tastes and came up with the following recipe. I'm using our George Foreman grill which makes the whole process super easy but you can use a grill pan or skillet if you prefer. Check it out. . .

The players: thick white bread (Texas Toast is perfect.), strawberry jam, swiss cheese, ham, turkey, eggs and milk.

Spread about 1 tablespoon of jam on one slice of bread. Lay a slice of cheese on another slice of bread.

Layer the ham and/or turkey over the cheese. I use about 4 slices of meat. I like ham and turkey. My daughter likes all turkey and my son likes all ham. However you like it is fine. Lay the jammed bread on top and get your Foreman Grill heating up.

In a shallow rimmed dish (this pie plate works great) whisk together the eggs and milk.

When the grill is heated and ready to go, quickly dip the sandwich into the egg mix then quickly flip it over and dip the other side. Just a quick dip, you don't want the bread to soak up too much of the mixture. We're not making French Toast here.

Lay the sandwich on the hot grill.

Put the lid down and press just lightly. This is soft bread and it you push down too much, it will smoosh the bread. I push down so the top makes good contact with the top of the sandwich but still leaves about a 1-inch gap between the top and bottom of the grill. 

Now just let it toast. About 3 minutes will do it for golden brown. This is how "done" we like 'em. This was exactaly 3 minutes on our grill. Adjust for your grill and taste.

Let the sandwich rest for a minute or two before slicing in half. Then dust with powdered sugar and serve right a way.

These were an instant hit with the fam. We all loved them. A super quick weeknight dinner that's a bit more than just a sandwich. You could also grill 'em up for breakfast. Or lunch, or for a snack, or whenever. Do they taste just like the ones at the Blue Bayou? I don't know. Haven't had one from there in a couple of years. But, if my memory serves me, they are pretty darn close. I've made these twice again already and am sure I make them many more times. Make them for yourself. You won't be disappointed.

Grilled Monte Cristo Sandwich
makes 4 sandwiches
8 slices thick white bread (Texas Toast)
4 T. strawberry jam
4 slices swiss cheese
8 thin slices turkey lunch meat
8 thin slices ham
3 eggs
1/3 C. milk
powdered sugar (optional)

Heat your counter top grill according to manufacture's directions.
Spread 4 slices of bread with 1 tablespoon jam each. Top each with 2 slices of turkey, 2 slices of ham, a slice of cheese and another slice of bread.
In a shallow rimmed dish (a pie plate works well) whisk together the eggs and milk.
Working with one sandwich at a time, quickly dip the sandwich into the egg mixture, flipping to coat both sides. Lay on the grill, put the lid down on the grill and press slightly until the top makes good contact with the sandwich. Grill for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Let rest 1-2 minutes before cutting. Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

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