The first time I tried a Monte Cristo sandwich was at an Irish restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh.  Now it is probably one of my favorite sandwiches ever.  Of course, the Irish pub's version was deep-fried and quite unhealthy, but when I make them at home, I try to lighten them up a bit.  If you've never had one, you're missing out.  They're like a combination of french toast and a turkey/ham & cheese sandwich.  Best served with fruit preserves.  They could honestly be a breakfast sandwich, but since I'm a fan of all things sweet, they're great any time of the day.  Another Irish tribute for the upcoming St. Patrick's Day.

Monte Cristo Sandwich
(serves 4)

2/3 cup water
1 egg
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 8 slices white bread 
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 slices turkey
4 slices ham
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper 

1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar for dusting 
fruit preserves (optional)

 In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper; whisk into the egg mixture until smooth. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Assemble sandwiches by placing one slice of turkey on one slice of bread, a slice of ham on another, then sandwich them with the Swiss cheese in the middle.

Dip each sandwich quarter in the batter so that all sides are coated.  Coat a skillet or sandwich press with oil and then pan fry sandwiches until golden brown on all sides.  Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.  Best eaten with a side of fruit preserves or marmalade.

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