currant jam, monte cristo, national grilled cheese month, sandwiches

Monte Cristo

This is one of those meals that I mentally flog myself over, wondering, “Why have I never eaten this before?”  It’s a combination of two of my favorite things: French Toast and Grilled Ham and Cheese. And it’s been there the whole time (I can’t count how many menus I’ve read its name on). But, it wasn’t until a morning of interwebs browsing, when I came across a recipe for a Monte Cristo on Serious Eats, that I actually felt compelled to have one for the first time.

The original recipe called for adding mustard and serving with a side of warmed currant jelly, but I nixed the mustard and substituted warmed Strawberry Hill Farms Maple Syrup instead. The end result was a wonderfully balanced sweet/savory sandwich that would have been as perfect for brunch as it was for dinner. The Bonne Maman Black Currant Jam that I used also managed to rock my face pretty sufficiently and I believe we’ll be through the jar by the end of next week.

Monte Cristo 

(adapted from Serious Eats)

  • 1/4 cup black currant jelly
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 slices brioche or challah loaf, sliced 1-inch thick
  • 6 slices ham
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Warmed Maple Syrup

  

In small bowl, combine 1/4 cup jelly and 2 tablespoons butter. Spread 2 slices bread with mixture. Top each buttered slice in this order:

1 slice cheese, 3 slices ham, and 1 slice cheese. Top with bread and press down lightly. Butter both sides of sandwiches with additional 4 tablespoons butter and set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and salt. Carefully dip one sandwich in egg mixture and allow to soak for 10 to 15 seconds. Turn and soak for another 10 to 15 seconds.

Transfer sandwich to cooling rack set inside rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.  Heat 1/4 cup oil and 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-high heat until foaming subsides but butter is not brown. Fry 2 sandwiches at a time, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Transfer to cutting board. Cool sandwiches 2 minutes, then cut in half, serve with warmed maple syrup.

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