Monte Cristo sandwich is a variation of popular French sandwich which is specially prepared with fried ham and cheese. It is a popular sandwich even in United States and in many other countries. Usually, Monte Cristo sandwich are prepared like other sandwiches, but in some cuisines they are made as ‘open sandwiches’.
One of the popular variations of Monte Cristo sandwich is ‘Cumberland Head style’. Different variations have distinct ingredients and style of serving. The recipes for this sandwich are also mentioned in cookbooks under different names.
History and Origin of Monte Cristo Sandwiches
French grilled sandwich ‘croque-monsieur’ is considered the base of the introduction of Monte Cristo sandwich. The ingredients and method of cooking for both the dishes is almost the same. In the time period of 1930-1960, the Monte Cristo was the most popular sandwich and mentioned in many American cookbooks. According to those American cookbooks, this sandwich was popular by the names of French sandwich, French toasted cheese sandwich and also toasted ham sandwich.
Ingredients Prescribed by the Monte Cristo Sandwiches
Monte Cristo sandwich is traditionally prepared with bread slices, fried ham and cheese. The variety of cheese may vary from recipe to recipe. The most commonly used cheese is Swiss cheese and Gruyere cheese. Gouda cheese is also a widely use cheese in the recipe.
In few regional variations of the sandwich, turkey is also included along with ham and cheese. Egg is used to prepare the batter. Mustard sauce, maple syrup and even powdered sugar are also incorporated to make the filling of the sandwich. Sometimes, mayonnaise is inculcated as a creamy sauce inside the sandwich.
Both savory and sweet variations of Monte Cristo Sandwich are like by people in different cuisines.
Fresh fruits, fruit preserves and even cream is used to make various accompaniment served with the sandwiches.
Method of Preparation of Monte Cristo Sandwiches
Monte Cristo sandwich is prepared with frying method. The frying is usually done in a skillet. Either butter or oil is used for this purpose.
Bread slices are buttered and filled with stuffing and sauces. The sandwich is dipped in egg batter and fried over the skillet. It is necessary to fry the sandwich until golden brown from both the sides.
Prepared sandwich without egg coating may also be kept in refrigerator in a plastic wrap, if not serving immediately.
In United States, Monte Cristo sandwich is also prepared by grilling method.
Eating and Serving of Monte Cristo Sandwiches
There are various accompaniments and methods that are used t serve and eat Monte Cristo sandwich. The most popular method of serving it with fruit preserves. Yogurt or cream is also sometimes used to make a fruit preserve mix. This preserve may either be served separately with the sandwich or poured over the bread.
Fresh fruits also make a nice accompaniment for the dish. Thousand Island dressing is a very common dressing for the sandwiches.
Health and Nutritional Facts Related to Monte Cristo Sandwiches
Monte Cristo sandwich is a moderately beneficial dish. The ingredients used in the sandwich are healthy indeed, but the excess fat with cheese, butter and ham makes it a highly calorific dish. It is not recommended for obese people and people having high cholesterol.
The cooking method is also not beneficial for health. However, if sandwich is prepared with grilling method then it can be consumed in few occasions.