Where in earth did this sandwich come from? I remember eating it as a child when we went out to eat. My friend, Brady, just took my daughter, Grace, to Disneyland for her birthday. They were there from 10 am until it closed at 11:30 pm! One of the highlights of the day was lunch at the Blue Bayou where they had a Monte Cristo sandwich. I hadn’t really thought about them in years. It’s not something I would order now, given the fat / calorie count!
1910 – Most food historian generally think that the Monte Cristo sandwich is a variation of a French dish called Croque Monsieur. This original grilled cheese sandwich consisted of Gruyere cheese and lean ham between two slices of crust-less bread, fried in clarified butter. It was originally served in 1910 in a Paris cafe. This sandwich is still a popular snack or casual meal throughout France and Switzerland in most bars and cafes. It is usually made in a special sandwich grilling iron consisting of two hinged metal plates, each with two shell-shaped indentations. At most Paris cafes, the Croque Monsieur is no longer prepared as a square sandwich but rather as a one-sided tartine made with a large single slice of bread from a round loaf.
1930s to1960s – Many American cookbooks published in the 1930s to1960s featured this sandwich under different names such as French Sandwich, Toasted Ham Sandwich, and French Toasted Cheese Sandwich.
1950s – Although there are no existing documents to support this, it is felt that the Monte Cristo Sandwich was first served in southern California in the 1950s.
1966 – Disneyland in Anaheim, California also contributed to the trend of eating this sandwich. In 1966, it appeared on their menu of the Blue Bayou and Tahitian Terrace restaurants in New Orleans’s Square in Disneyland and has continued to be a popular menu item to this day.
Monte Cristo Sandwich
Makes 4 sandwiches
2/3 cup water
1 small egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
8 slices white bread
4 slices roasted cooked turkey (1 oz each sandwich)
4 slices swiss cheese (1 oz each sandwich)
4 slices smoked ham (1 oz each sandwich)
vegetable oil, for frying
powdered sugar, for dusting
BATTER: Place water, egg, salt, and pepper in a bowl and using an electric mixer, mix well at low speed. Add flour and baking powder and mix until batter is smooth. Chill.
SANDWICHES: Make 4 sandwiches, putting cheese between ham and turkey. Cut into fourths and put a toothpick through each quarter.
Heat about 6″ of oil to 340 degrees in a fryer. Dip sandwiches in batter to cover all surfaces. Deep fry sandwiches until golden brown, turning as needed. An alternate way of frying it to put approximately 1/4″ oil in a large pan and fry the sandwiches on both sides until crispy and brown.
Remove from oil and take out toothpicks. Drain on paper towel to remove excess oil. Sprinkle sandwiches with confectioners’ sugar. Serve with raspberry jam.