Weeknight Cooking

Ham & Cheese Gets Crossed with French Toast (and Smeared with Jam)

July  6, 2015

For those nights when you get home hungry, stressed, and impatient, Hangry is here to help. Each Monday, Kendra Vaculin will share quick, exciting meals to rescue anyone who might be anxiously eyeing a box of minute rice.

Today: A hybrid of French toast and ham and cheese—plus a smear of jam for good measure. 

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The internet tells me that American cookbooks starting publishing recipes for Monte Cristos in the 1940s and 50s, calling them “French Sandwiches” due to their resemblance to the croque monsieur. What the internet refuses to tell me is where these cookbook authors got their recipes, and if it was, as I suspect, from their nutty friends. 

See, I have a hard time believing that the Monte Cristo was conceived by a totally sane and conscious person. Someone had a fever-dream or a fit of madness—or else briefly communed with heaven—and then came to holding one of these golden, indulgent monsters to the sky, like a short order cook world champion.

A Monte Cristo is crispy, melty, sweet, and tangy —a bangin' union of Gruyère and ham around which you make French toast. Depending on the seriousness of your condiment game, you are liable to end up with both mustard and jam dribbling down your face. How could you tell me that this wasn’t the result of divine intervention? 

My love of sandwiches is no secret, so I was overjoyed to add Monte Cristos to my repertoire (and to mix raspberry jam and melted cheese together, which I think my soul has been waiting for since the day I was born). Even if you are wary of an off-beat combo, I fervently suggest that you try one today. 

The Glorious Monte Cristo Sandwich

Makes 1 sandwich

Raspberry jam (with seeds is great!)
2 slices bread
Thinly sliced ham
Small pile grated Gruyère cheese (it's best to buy a hunk of cheese and grate it yourself for increased melt-ability)
Grainy brown mustard
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 pat butter

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom

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  • AntoniaJames
  • amysarah
A fan of female driven comedies, a good beat, your hair today, and making foods for friends.


AntoniaJames July 7, 2015
Any fruit chutney is also a great choice for this purpose. I make dozens of jars of the stuff every year, having found this to be one of the best uses for it! It's such fun to play with the type of cheese + chutney combinations. ;o)
amysarah July 6, 2015
My mom made us Monte Cristo's as a treat - we loved them! She discovered them at the St. Francis hotel in San Francisco, where my parents had a yearly business event - don't know if that's where they started, but to me they're indelibly connected. But she didn't use jam. The sweet element was a flurry of powdered sugar sprinkled on top for serving.