It’s America’s answer to the French classic French Monsieur! Monte Cristo is America’s answer to the French classic Croque Monseur. Most commonly made with ham, but also found made with turkey and other sliced meats. Gruyere is the most common type of cheese used but really, you can’t go wrong no matter what type of cheese you use, just as long as it’s a good melting cheese!
While the origins of the name aren’t exactly clear, everybody agrees on one thing – they are delicious!
While typically made with ham, Monte Cristo sandwiches can be made with any cold slices – turkey, chicken, eve pork and beef.
How to make Monte Cristo Sandwiches
It goes like this: Slather bread with mayo (optional), pile on (lots of) ham, top with (lots of) cheese, sandwich with another piece of bread, dip in egg-milk mix and pan fry in butter until golden. The more the better.
Look at the crust on these Monte Cristo Sandwiches! They are cooked for a bit longer than french toast usually is because it needs the time for the cheese inside to melt. And that is why you end up with a really beautiful thick golden crust, unlike the usual french toast.
Looks pretty good, no?
There is one very difficult decision that needs to be made with these. And that is this: fancy bread or ordinary sandwich bread? Both are just as good! Sourdough and other fancy artisan breads get a slightly thicker, stiffer crust but sandwich bread typically has a larger surface area so there is more ooey-gooey-melted cheese and hot ham centre.
Monte Cristo Sandwich (Ham Cheese French Toast)
- Prep: 5 mins
- Cook: 8 mins
- Total: 13 mins
- Servings 2
- 4 slices bread of choice (Note 1)
- 1 large egg or 2 small eggs
- 1 tbsp milk
- 2 tsp mayonnaise (I like whole egg mayo)
- 2 – 4 slices gruyere cheese (or other grated or sliced melting cheese of choice)
- Ham or turkey , sliced or shaved
- 1 – 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- Lightly whisk egg, milk and a generous pinch of salt in a flat bowl.
- Spread 2 slices of bread with mayonnaise.
- Top with ham, then cheese, then sandwich with remaining slices of bread. Press down firmly.
- Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.
- Dip each side of the sandwiches briefly in the egg mixture, then place in skillet.
- Cook the first side, pressing down with an egg flip, for 3 minutes or until deep golden brown.
- Flip and cook the other side for 3 minutes, pressing down firmly with the egg flip, until golden brown and the cheese is melted.
- Serve immediately, while hot!
1. This is great made with artisan (e.g. sourdough) bread or ordinary sandwich bread. Sourdough yields a slightly crunchier golden crust whereas sandwich bread has a higher ratio of soft gooey melted cheese and hot ham. I enjoy both!
2. No one should be counting calories for holiday eating! But because I know you will want to make this much more often than just in the days after Christmas, here you go. This is the nutrition for 1 Monte Cristo, assuming it’s made with ordinary white sandwich bread.