Thursday, January 1, 2009

Monte Cristo sandwich (lower fat version)

I often visit Nikki's blog, NikSnacks, to enjoy her humorous (and informative) writing, and her recipes. She posted one recently for a Monte Cristo sandwich and I copied it because there was some ham, brought back from my parents' earlier in the week, in the refrigerator.

Jack and I do not eat red meat, but he loves the ham which my Mom makes at Christmas and Easter. Dad buys it from a local farm and it is the leanest, most flavorful ham in the world (Jack says this, and I agree because I occasionally will sneak a bite or two!).

This sandwich, featuring ham or turkey and Swiss with mustard and a surprise addition of tart-sweet cranberry sauce, is dipped in an egg/milk mixture and grilled. I used lowfat Jarlesberg, but the rest of the recipe was unaltered. I made mine with deli turkey, and it was very good, but judging from Jack's reaction when he bit into his ham version, his was better!

Here is her post. Visit Nikki's blog when you have the opportunity, you'll learn something new (almost) every time you do!

Monte Cristo Sandwich

Serves 1

When I was a kid, there was this diner not far from our house, Oak Lane Diner, on Broad Street in North Philly. It's been open since 1944 (or '41...'42...I'm not sure. It's really old. I know that much) and they serve breakfast all day long. This with a duo of eggs and hash and I was in heaven. This recipe of mine is a lower fat/calorie version that makes leftover turkey and or ham take the grilled cheese/croque monsieur-madame thing to another level. It's dipped in an egg batter and either deep fried or pan-griddled. Sometimes there is powdered sugar dusted on top. A sugary-sweet raspberry sauce is served on the side or poured on top, to make this the most decadent thing since fried PB&J sandwiches.

2 slices sandwich bread
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp shredded swiss cheese
2 thin slices deli ham or turkey
1 Tbsp cranberry sauce
Cooking oil, for the pan
1/4 cup egg substitute or 1 egg
1 Tbsp milk
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp butter

Spread 1 slice of bread with the mustard. Then layer on 1 slice of cheese followed by both slices of ham and the last piece of cheese. Spread the cranberry sauce on the other piece of bread, then press it, spread side down, onto the sandwich. Use a piece of paper towel to rub an unheated heavy skillet with a little cooking oil. Place the skillet over moderate heat. As the skillet heats, whisk the eggs, milk, and salt in a shallow bowl until frothy.

Put the butter in the center of the pan. As it starts to melt, hold the sandwich together firmly and briefly submerge one surface in the egg batter then twist and submerge the other surface. Immediately place the sandwich in the pan, before the butter browns. Grill the sandwich on the first side for about 3 minutes, until golden brown. Then flip it with a spatula and grill it on the second side for another 3 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the sandwich from the pan to a plate, slice it in half, and serve.