My husband and I went to Las Vegas this Christmas. Las Vegas has some of the best restaurants in the country. One of my favorites is Bouchon, a French bistro located in the Venetian. Bouchon is one of Thomas Keller’s restaurants. He has won many James Beard awards (best chef in America 1997) and his restaurant French Laundry is on my bucket list. While not the French Laundry, Bouchon is still delightful. The bistro itself is beautiful. Everything is muted and elegant. And even though it is very high end, it is unpretentious. They serve French fries.
We had brunch there after sleeping in one morning. I had Eggs Benedict and my husband had the Croque Madame. The Croque Madame is a ham and cheese sandwich, dipped in egg and toasted, then topped with a fried egg and Monray sauce. We washed brunch down with champagne, because we were in Las Vegas at a Lyonnaise restaurant and that’s what you do. Decadence with style.
The food was so good that I began to research the Croque Madame and found out that it was the sister sandwich of the Croque Monsieur-same sandwich, no egg. These two French basics have an American cousin, The Monte Cristo. Remember those things from Bennigans? Fried cheesy goodness, sprinkled with powdered sugar. Okay, they aren’t health food. But they are yummy. I decided to make a Monte Cristo.
Most of the recipes I saw called for dipping the sandwich in plain egg. But I remember the Bennigan’s sandwich as being battered. So I made up a savory batter. When I make this again, I might cut the edges of the sandwiches off right before dipping them. Having even edges would have made this easier to cook. Even so, this was delicious.
Servings: 2-4 (2 sandwiches)
Time: Prep: 15 minutes Cooking: 8-10 minutes per sandwich
Hardware: A cutting board and knife, measuring spoons and cups, 2 mixing bowls, a whisk, a large deep skillet, a spatula, a paper towel covered plate
- 6 slices of bread
- ⅓ (5 oz.) turkey cold cuts, sliced thin
- ⅓ (5 oz.) ham cold cuts, sliced thin
- 4-1 ounce slices emmenthaler or Swiss cheese
- 1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Oil to fill the pan ½ way
- Powdered sugar, red current jam
- Start with 3 slices of bread. Spread mustard on two of them. Place a slice of cheese on each of those. Pile half the turkey on one and half the ham on the other. Spread mustard on both sides of the third bread slice. Place that third slice on top of the ham and then flip the turkey over onto that slice to create a triple-decker sandwich. Press it down a little to compress it. Now create the other sandwich following the same instructions.
- Mix the flour, baking soda and salt together in one bowl. Whisk the eggs and milk together in the second bowl.
- Fill the skillet half way with oil and heat it over medium.
- While the oil is heating, stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Press the sandwiches down again. Dip each sandwich into the batter. Turn to make sure the sandwich is covered. Then place the sandwich into the hot oil and fry until it is golden brown. This takes about 4 or 5 minutes. Then flip the Monte Cristo over and fry the other side for 4-5 more minutes. Remove the Monte Cristo to the paper towel covered plate.
- When the sandwiches are cool enough to handle, sprinkle them with powdered sugar. Cut them diagonally and serve warm with current jelly for dipping.