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??
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
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (from Michigan if possible)
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
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.