Wednesday, April 14, 2010

THE Monte Cristo: A Breakfast for Late Risers

Do you ever have those mornings when you just can't decide between breakfast or lunch? Maybe you slept in, and eggs sound good, but so does a sandwich...WHAT TO DO??

Here's what:

The fabulous Monte Cristo, a little known breakfast / lunch straddler. I met my first (and best) Monte Cristo at Betty's Diner in Boyne Falls, Michigan-- one of the greatest low-brow breakfast joints in the Great Lakes state. I've never met Betty personally, but my family should build a shrine to her for as much as we worship her good old fashioned home-cooking.

There are many inferior versions of the Monte Cristo out there-- some of them even deep fried and drenched in maple syrup (no thank you), but Betty's perfect Monte Cristo is the muse for my re-creation of this sandwich. Chicken, ham, and swiss cheese are sandwiched between two pieces of french toast and served with a side of sour cream and jam. The sour cream and jam isn't always served with Monte Cristo preparations, and I've wondered if it's a Michigan-thing, or maybe even a Yooper-thing. As far as I'm concerned, it makes the experience; a little dab of each adorning every warm and fluffy bite.

It took a couple trys, but I think I finally nailed it.

The "Betty's" Monte Cristo
(serves 2)

1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (from Michigan if possible)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
few grinds fresh pepper
1 pat butter (don't overdo it-- it makes the french toast flat and greasy)
4 slices english muffin bread, or other good toasting bread
4-6 thin slices smoked ham
4-6 thin slices chicken breast
3 slices swiss cheese
raspberry jam
sour cream

Combine milk, eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip each slice of bread into egg mixture until thoroughly coated. Place in buttered skillet. Flip when the underside is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Once flipped, top 2 of the pieces with swiss cheese (1 1/2 slices each). On the other 2 pieces, layer the chicken and ham. When the other side of the french toast is golden brown, sandwich the two sides together. If the meat and cheese needs a little more time to heat, just continue to grill the sandwich, flipping occasionally until cheese is melted and everything is heated through.

Cut each Monte Cristo crosswise and serve with ramekins of sour cream and raspberry jam.

Monte Cristo Sandwiches on Foodista


Senor Fuerte said...

I've eaten many a Monte Cristo in my California days, and they've always been served with sour cream and jam. So, apparently, it's not just a Michigan thing.

Kathy Gori said...

Hoo! I used to love these. When I was 19 I was in the musical You're A Good Man Charlie Brown for 2 years and there was this restaurant that was open all night, called the Pam Pam Room, it was in a hotel on Geary In San Francisco in the Theatre district and I used to order one of these every Friday night after the show...I was eating these at Midnight!!! They used to serve them with strawbery jam..OMG! I love your recipe!

Brie: Le Grand Fromage said...

yum, monte cristos are awesome - great recipe! i haven't had one since bennigan's closed down.

penny aka jeroxie said...

This will make a great weekend late breakfast for sure.

Food-G said...

Senor Fuerte- Thanks for clearing that up. I stand corrected.

Kathy- Thanks for a GREAT story! Midnight may just be the perfect hour for the MC. So, which character did you play?

Belinda @zomppa said...

I would eat this breakfast, brunch, lunch, snack, second snack, dinner, after dinner, midnight snack....

Farmgirl Susan said...

I can only remember ever eating one of these - in a waterside table at the restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland almost 20 years ago. It had raspberry jam on it and was delicious, but I'm not sure any other Monte Cristo could ever live up to that memorable experience! :)

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