Let’s face it, the quickest route to American-French cuisine is a Monte Cristo sandwich. It’s such an effortless treat that brings fabulous flavors to a humble toast. And this Monte Cristo recipe is no different. Except, with lower sodium, cholesterol, and calories, it’s a much healthier treat!
What’s in a Monte Cristo?
Typically, a Monte Cristo starts with a ham and cheese sandwich. It’s dipped in an egg batter, fried in butter, and sprinkled with powdered sugar to top it off. Over time, the Monte Cristo has developed into several sweet and savory variations. That leaves flavoring choices in the maker’s hands.
Monte Cristo vs French Toast
A Monte Cristo is filled, so it has more ingredients than French toast. Thus it takes a longer time to cook. Consequently, a Monte Cristo usually has a darker, thicker crust.
Monte Cristo vs Croque Monsieur
Croque Monsieur is the original French dish the Monte Cristo is supposed to have originated from. The difference comes in adding béchamel sauce to a Croque Monsieur. It really enhances the flavor profile. Also, a Monte Cristo is dipped in an egg custard, and a Croque Monsieur typically is not.
Like all great recipes, the Monte Cristo is an innovative take on hearty food that brings relished flavors, delivering a bellyful in one petite serving.
How To Make a Monte Cristo Sandwich
The two main ways to make a Monte Cristo are deep frying and shallow frying. Other versions opt to toast or grill it. This recipe is a ham, bacon, and cheese sandwich dipped in an egg custard. After that, we shallow-fry it in butter and olive oil.
To begin, get out 3 slices of bread for each sandwich. Use bacon, ham, cheese, dijon mustard, and mayonnaise as the filling. To get a nice, compact sandwich that’s easy to cook, use a cutting board to compress the sandwich.
Once it’s flat and leveled down, trim the crusts off and soak it in the egg batter. Use a spatula, with one hand on top, to dip the sandwich. The batter should reach halfway up the middle slice so you get a good whack of creaminess, about 4 seconds on each side.
Next, make a quick but robust dip by mixing blueberry or raspberry jam together with some orange juice. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with how the tangy flavors bring another facet to the dish. Then, heat the butter and olive oil in a pan. Add the sandwich to cook and when it’s crispy brown on all sides, it’s ready to serve.
What Makes it Healthy?
Let’s begin with bread, which has the most nutritive value. Compared to white bread, sprouted wheat bread has more fiber, and serves half the amount of sodium per slice. There’s every reason to monitor our sodium intake, what with all the snacking and cheat meals we may tend to indulge in throughout the day. Reducing salt and sodium intake may help reduce the risk of heart disease among many other complications such as osteoporosis and recurring cases of high blood pressure. It’s also lower in calories, giving us room to add more slices to this sandwich!
Another nutritious aspect are the eggs.Egg whites are a low-calorie source of proteins. They contribute over 60% of the protein found in a whole egg while staying low in other nutrients and overall calories. As a result, they are a great option for those wanting to lose weight and build muscle.
Best Side Dishes
To accompany the rich Monte Cristo sandwich, a light salad or dipping sauce will add appropriate calories and help balance the flavors. Better yet, a fresh and light vegetable beverage will pair well with the sweet and savory flavors of the Monte Cristo sandwich. Here are some of our suggestions:
Make a zesty berry dip using strawberry or blueberry jam and orange juice. Berries are superfoods, high in antioxidants which help reduce risks of heart disease. On a taste level, they give a sweet and savory flavor to the dish. And a tartness that’s balanced by the creamy toast.
Bite-sized fruits like grapes (or tomatoes) are a smart way to add light calories. They are full of quenching flavor and add an appreciated sweetness to the dish. Their acidity also helps to cut through the decadent flavors of the Monte Cristo.
A Light Fruit or Vegetable Beverage
To complete a full and filling breakfast, add a quenching element like a simple beverage. Carrot juice, for example, not only complements a sweet and cheesy sandwich but also adds healthy, eye fortifying nutrients and calories.
We suggest keeping Monte Cristo side dishes simple, light, and nutritious. This way, you can round up your meal without taking away from the filling flavors of the sandwich.
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Monte Cristo Recipe
- 5 egg whites
- 8 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 1/2 tbsp blueberry jam
- 4 tsp orange juice
- Start by roughly chopping the bacon. Combine the mayonnaise and dijon mustard in a dip bowl. In another bowl, mix the blueberry jam and orange juice to create a dip.
- In a shallow dish, add the egg whites, milk, and vanilla and whisk together until mixed.
- To make one sandwich, lay out 3 slices of bread. Add cheese onto the first slice, followed by ham. Spread the mayonnaise and dijon mixture onto both sides of the second slice. Place it on top of the ham, then add bacon, followed by cheese. Finally, add the third slice of bread.
- Use a rolling pin or cutting board to compress the sandwich for about 10-15 seconds. Slice the crusts of the bread off and cut the sandwich diagonally.
- In a skillet, melt some butter and add olive oil at medium heat. (You can fry two sandwiches at a time if the skillet is large enough. Just remember to divide the butter and oil accordingly.) Dip the sandwich in the egg mix and transfer it to the skillet. Cook for 4 minutes on each side until a dark, crispy brown crust forms.
- Remove from the heat and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately with blueberry dip and a light beverage.