I love Monte Cristo sandwiches. They are my favorite grilled sandwiches. But it’s not just the type; I love the combination of ham, cheese, and raspberry jam. (Traditionally, mustard is added but I usually leave that out.) But I like lingonberry jam even better. Usually, I’m pairing lingonberry with turkey but it’s also superb with ham.
You can use whatever filling you want. We’ve even made them with peanut butter and jelly. But today, we’re using lingonberry jam.
Lingonberries are beautiful bright red berries, a cousin to a cranberry, with a unique, intense flavor. In Scandinavia, they are used not only as a jam but as a main dish accompaniment as with cranberry sauce or chutney. Lingonberry jam goes well with both white and red meats.
Traditionally, Monte Cristo sandwiches are dipped in batter, and then fried. But like most things in cooking, there is a great deal of variation with regional and local favorites.
We know of three ways to make Monte Cristo sandwiches: bake them, deep fry them, and grill them. I grew up around deep fried Monte Cristo sandwiches, sandwiches that were dipped in a heavy batter and fried until they were crispy. Especially in the summertime, that seams too heavy. Recently, we discovered a recipe for baked Monte Cristo sandwiches. That seems like too much trouble. It’s easier to grill them. They are not as crispy as deep fried but they are very good.
If you can make French toast, you can make Monte Cristo sandwiches. In fact, making a Monte Cristo sandwich on the griddle is no different than making stuffed French toast.
This is a traditional recipe but with lingonberry instead of raspberry jam and grilled instead of deep fried. The mustard has been omitted.
8 slices hearty bread
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
8 slices of provolone or Swiss cheese
1/3 cup lingonberry jam
1/2 pound thinly sliced deli ham or turkey
- Set aside eight slices of hearty bread. If all you have is very light bread that may come apart when dipped in the egg mixture, toast the bread.
- Mix the eggs, milk, salt, and white pepper together in a shallow bowl.
- Place a slice of cheese on four of the slices. Spread jam on the four cheese slices. Cover the jam with the deli ham or turkey. Add another thin layer of jam, then cheese, and then top with the remaining bread slices to make a sandwich.
- Heat a griddle or large frying pan. Melt a little butter just before frying the sandwiches.
- Dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture, turn the sandwich in the egg mixture, and place the sandwiches on the hot griddle. Fry as you would a grilled cheese sandwich, turning the sandwich when one side is golden brown. Serve hot.