Make Mine a Monte Cristo

I have to admit something. I am not a breakfast fan.

There's something about being awake for only a few hours and then stuffing yourself with eggs, pancakes, fried potatoes, bacon, cereal, sweet rolls, etc., that I just don't like.  Brunch is better -- if I can disguise it as lunch, that's fine. I'm just not ready to eat first thing in the morning.

But, there's an exception to every rule, and for me, that's a Monte Cristo sandwich.  I will eat it at 5 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m.  -- any time.  In fact, I love it so much, I couldn't wait and take pictures until after I had eaten most of it.

What is a Monte Cristo? It's basically a french toast sandwich.  There are various versions -- some deep fried, some with fruit preserves and yogurt, some with mustard, but my favorite version is french toast, ham, turkey and cheese, all melted together and drowned in maple syrup. What's not to like about that?

Here's the easiest way to make my version:

  • Make french toast. You'll need two slices per sandwich: Whisk together 4 eggs, 2/3 cup of cream, 1-2 tsp cinnamon, 1-2 tsp of maple syrup, dip bread in the mixture and cook in greased pan until cooked through on both sides, but still custardy. (Or, thaw a box of frozen french toast -- only in extreme cases.)
  • Spread a wee bit of real maple syrup on one slice of the french toast and top with a slice of Swiss or mozzarella cheese (or one of each) then add sliced ham and turkey.  Note: Please spend the extra $ and stock your fridge with real maple syrup. If you only have the fake kind, throw it out. Seriously. Do not eat that stuff! 
  • To the other french toast slice, add a wee bit syrup and another slice or two of cheese. 
  • Bring the two sides together and make a sandwich. (The maple syrup will help keep the cheese/meat from sliding out while you cook.) 
  • Toast the sandwich like you would a grilled cheese: Place in greased, low-heat skillet, turning a few times until cheese has melted, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Place on plate and smother with maple syrup, or if you aren't a huge syrup fan (what's wrong with you?) put the syrup in a bowl on the side.
  • Dig in. The salt of the ham, sweet of the french toast/syrup and creaminess of the cheese all make for a lovely, delish dish. You'll have to stop yourself from eating more than one.

Now that's what I call breakfast.
At 6 a.m. or 6 p.m.