Sunday is National Monte Cristo Day (9/17), proving once again that we Americans love to celebrate all things food. The yummy dish reminds me of a collision between French toast and a lunch box ham sandwich – the traditional version, a favorite during my childhood, is made with ham and cheese book-ended between white bread, dipped in an egg mixture and then pan fried or even deep fried (gasp) with raspberry preserves and powdered sugar to garnish! Crazy yum!
Of course, I’m anything but traditional so today I’m sharing my even more brazen version of this classic sammie – a Beef Blue Cheese Monte Cristo with Cherries! Read on to get all the juicy details and recipe.
Don’t shy away from the audacious pair up of sweet and savory. Roast beef, dark cherries and blue cheese are ahhhhh-mazing together and sandwiched up between and artisan whole grain bread, even better! I’ve used BOTH cherry preserves and fresh cherries, but if cherry season has come and gone, you can substitute frozen cherries that have been thawed and drained well. I’m even thinking of trying with pomegranate arils for a winter holiday luncheon.
After laying the bread out and smearing, spreading and piling up ingredients, each side on the sammie is set in an egg-milk bath so the bread sops the mixture up like a sponge. Just like French toast and, hey, from the eggs you get a little added protein for your day. After a quick pan fry in a bit of butter, this “haute” hot sandwich is ready to be garnished to your preference – add a dollop of cherry preserves, more blue cheese dressing, more blue cheese crumble — I can never get my fill of the award-winning blue cheese crumbles from Simply Artisan Reserve.
I love to make Monte Cristos for the family when I’m slammed for time at dinner – even though it’s “sandwich night,” the finish product is actually quite fancy!
Have you ever had a Monte Cristo? What’s a special food you remember from your childhood? What’s your favorite thing to put in a grilled cheese sandwich (other than cheese!)? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer