Monte Cristo Sandwich

Monte Cristo Sandwich

For those of you that aren’t familiar with this American sandwich, it may sound a little odd. Part breakfast, part club sandwich, it’s a strange combination of sweet and savory from different meals in the day. But if you’re the type that likes to dip your bacon in maple syrup, you’ll love the Monte Cristo Sandwich.

It’s an impossible combination of sweet/savory, pillowy/custardy, crispy/tender, and creamy/lean. All in one bite! A Monte Cristo embodies the spirit of brunch, and is one of the things I love chowing down on when I wake up far too late in the day to call my frist meal “breakfast”.

Monte Cristo Sandwich

While some will tell you that this sandwich is as old as Alexandre Dumas’ novel of the same name, the Monte Cristo Sandwich is actually quite a bit more recent and more domestic in provenance. It’s essentially an American version of the croque-monsieur, and showed up sometime in the 1930’s. As for the name, it’s unlikely they invented it, but Disneyland is credited with popularizing the name “Monte Cristo Sandwich”. It’s been a staple on the menu at Cafe Orleans and Blue Bayou since they opened in the 1960’s and was the first place I ever had one.

My version of the Monte Cristo Sandwich combines my favorite way of making French toast with my favorite lunch meats. The flour and cheese in this French toast batter gives the tender challah bread a crisp outer crust, while making the inside of the bread custardy. The meats are a little on the sweet-side and if you can find real Emmentaler cheese, it’s nuttier and more flavorful than American “Swiss cheese”.

Dust a little powdered sugar on top and dip the sandwich in ample amounts of jam or maple syrup and your confused taste buds will thank you for overcoming your initial skepticism.

Monte Cristo Sandwich Recipe

Monte Cristo Sandwich

makes 2 sandwiches
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano
1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
6 thin slices of challah bread or brioche
1 tablespoon butter

2 ounces Emmentaler (Swiss) cheese, sliced thin
1/4 pound sliced honey roasted turkey
1/4 pound sliced black forrest ham
powdered sugar
strawberry or raspberry jam

Whisk the egg, milk, flour, cheese and nutmeg together until smooth. Heat a skillet or griddle large enough to accomodate all the slices of bread in a single layer over medium heat. Dip the slices of bread into the egg mixture, giving it a few seconds on each side to absorb the batter.

Add the butter to the pan once it is hot, then place as many slices of battered bread onto it as you can fit. Wait till it is golden brown and crisp on one side, then flip and top 4 pieces of bread with the cheese. Put the turkey on 2 of cheesed slices of bread and the ham on the other 2 cheesed slices of bread.

Fry until the bread is browned and crisp on the second side, then make the sandwich by stacking a ham slice with a turkey slice topped with a plain piece of French toast. Slice the sandwiches in half, dust with powdered sugar, and serve with a small bowl of jam.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408241180 Toby Corn

    There used to be a restaurant in Atlanta that had the Monte Cristo as a mainstay of their menu.. When we were “very” good as kids, our folks would take us to get one. As a child, it was the closest thing we did as “sinful” – eating sandwiches with powdered sugar and jam.
    Thanks for bringing back a forgotten memory!

  • http://www.vinolucistyle.com Barbara | Vino Luci Style

    I love these things; always something that’s at the top of my list when I go out with friends for brunch and I’m even wondering now to myself…why have I never done them? They would also be perfect for what my kids used to call Brinner. Breakfast type foods we would occasionally have for dinner.

  • Peter G

    Mmmmm…now this looks good! I love the sweet and savoury flavours going on here Marc.

  • Rhonda

    This was a diner favorite of mine growing up, sort of a big girl grilled ham and cheese. I used the egg batter method with Texas Toast for a tuna salad sandwich and it was wonderful. I’m convinced you can do this with practically any sandwich!

  • http://iamafeeder.net Jackie

    Y’know, I don’t think I’ve ever had a Monte Cristo (and of course, because I’m not Amurikan after all), but it sounds kind of confusing. Yet I’m prepared to try it! Either I’ll have to find a diner when I’m Stateside, or wait until March when I make it home to London!

    See you soon(ish) ;)

    Jax x

    • vlad

      or you could make one… i bet you could find a recipe somewhere

  • http://twitter.com/CookUnderwriter Mrs. Mix It

    OMG, when ever i go to Blue Bayou restaurant at Disneyland this is a must! I dream about the Monte Cristo sandwich, thank goodness I have a pass, its always a stop for me and my family when want a sweet yet savory sandwich. LOVE IT!!!

  • Lori

    Wow! This looks amazing. My son made a similar sandwich for breakfast the other day, but without the egg dip/french toast thing happening. When I showed him this, he was all for it! Nothing beats a well made Monte Cristo for brekkie!

  • Dsa

    The last Monte Cristo that I was served had two fried eggs added to it—AMAZING!

  • Sharlene

    I love Monte Cristo sandwiches. I often order them at the diner when we go out to eat after a night of partying!

  • http://katcupcake.blogspot.com/ Cupcakekat

    I sometimes make Monte Cristos. They are a nice alternative to an average sandwich. I think jam can be good on any sandwich!

  • Julietrekker

    Loved these as a kid. Mom always used red currant jelly, though. Thanks for the trek down memory lane!

  • http://chicagosdomesticdiva.blogspot.com Cakealana86

    This looks so good and alot healthier than the monte cristo you see in restaurants.

  • http://lickmyspoon.com Steph @Lick My Spoon

    Gahhh! i <3 monte cristos!!! they're my ultimate fave brunch dish. best one i ever had was Orson’s Blueberry & Thyme Monte Cristo. your triple decker version looks pretty badass though. happy new year, marc!

  • Anonymous

    oh marc i don’t come to your fabulous site enough. so many perfect food photos to catch up on.
    you have such incredible talent.
    i would love to see your take on an asian style roast.
    happy new year to you!

  • http://www.girlparaphernalia.com Bailey Yamamoto

    I have not had this calorie laden sandwich is such a long time.. it was one of my favorites after hitting the clubs and heading to Bennigans? I think I met up with my mother and her coworkers.. I can’t remember where I had it first but I did love it… Looks like I can make this fab sand at home them.

  • http://www.oilandbutter.com Rich

    Well, my tastebuds have been through their share of confusion, what with eating my cooking and all, but this definitely looks like the good sort of confusion. Love the monte cristo, and your version looks and sounds delicious.

  • http://twitter.com/christellar Christel Loll

    this has always been my most favourite sammich of ALL TIME, you re-kindled a wonderful craving :)

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  • http://allthingsmamma.com Kasey@AllThingsMamma

    OH YUM! I love, love, LOVE this sandwich!

  • http://www.decarshop.com Equipoise

    Again, delicious. Love it, and the pictures, oh my.

  • rita

    this is one reason why i hate coming here… soooo many good food that it’s always making me hungry. monte cristo is my topmost fave sandwich of all time! when i used to live in the DC area, i used to go to the Dubliner (on Capitol st). their monte cristo is topped with hollandaise sauce which is also sooooo good!

  • Playpro711

    This is one of the worst attempts to make a Monte Cristo that I have seen here on the internet. This is not even close to a real Monte Cristo, Please do not give up based on this travesty of a recipe .

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Thanks for your thoughts! I always welcome a productive discussion about food and it’s origins and I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on what makes a “real” monte cristo? Looking forward to hearing back from you!

      • http://profiles.google.com/amylynn.hunt Amy Lynn Hunt

        They never seem to reply, do they? Well, you just brush that off and enjoy your sandwich. I love the pix too, now i really want a strawberry with some confectioner’s sugar!!

  • http://profiles.google.com/amylynn.hunt Amy Lynn Hunt

    My fave Monte Cristo was deep fried and then we put … OK it’s been too long but my mouth waters at the thought :)  Maple syrup & powdered sugar on it. I miss being young enough to not think how many calories and fat grams must be in the one i used to eat ;-)

    To those of you who have been extremely rude (why do people think being rude on the Internet is OK? It’s not), you might have missed this:My version of the Monte Cristo Sandwich My version. Meaning “not yours”. Or even “not the only version”. If you don’t like it, don’t make it & eat it. Google on, chums. :)   Try the maple syrup, it’s sooo good!

  • http://www.rachaltarquin.4ormat.com/ Rachal Tarquin

    I had this in a restaurant once and fell in love with the combination of flavors. I make french toast all the time, so added a few extra ingredients shouldn’t be a problem. I am looking forward to making this for dinner! Thanks for giving us pictures and an easy recipe to follow. 

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  • Andrew Bolduc

    I prefer battered and fried. The way I achieve this is toothpicks and a thickened version of my pancake recipe. I like gruyere and a smoked ham, but less expensive is to make a two layer club sandwich ham and cheddar and turkey with Swiss pin it together with the toothpicks. Batter and deep fry to golden brown. You will have to turn it over in the fryer as it floats when done cut in half remove toothpicks and serve with either powdered sugar or a sweet jelly. I have made one recently to which Jenny and the kids looked at me as if I were a monster and would not even taste it. After the reaction I prepared myself a fried candy bar with the batter and bite size 3 musketeers.

  • Agustin Colon

    I LOVE MONTECRISTO SANDWICH,I LIKE THIS VERSION,DELICIOUS

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