Okay, I admit that I am a little freakish about lunch meat. I am fairly grossed out by it and rarely eat it, but I will admit it serves a purpose: to add protein to grilled sandwiches. I have a strict (and who knows, possibly wasteful) rule about lunch meat and that is that it must be consumed within 4 days of purchase. At that point, in my mind it smells funny and is getting slimy, whether or not it actually is.
I decided a few months ago that dinners needed to be simplified at least a couple days a week and part of that meant instituting some sort of sandwich night a couple of times a month. I have really only done it about twice, but both times I have wondered why we don't do it more often (I also wonder this about the Chinese and Greek take-out places around the corner). Sure, the kids won't touch sandwiches, but for the grown-ups, it makes a fast, easy dinner with minimal clean-up. It's genius! So, this past week when I've had zero desire to cook anything due to a nagging cold, I decided to grab some ham and turkey to make my life easier. I even went the extra mile and bought pre-sliced cheese, which is something I am usually far too cheap to do (I'm not talking American cheese, I bought provolone - slightly higher class).
I can't remember why at this point, but Thursday afternoon/evening turned out to be hectic and I didn't get around to dinner until after the kids went to bed. By this point, my husband had fended for himself (I love him for the fact that he never *expects* me to make dinner). So, I decided to make myself a Monte Cristo sandwich. I enjoyed it so much, I made one for both of us for dinner the following night because, you know, gotta use up that lunch meat.
Now, the Monte Cristo sandwich. This has been a favorite of mine since I was introduced to it at the university where my mom taught when I was a kid. It was a treat for me to get to go with my mom to school and sit in on her classes (statistics and calculus which was over my head around age 9 or 10, but still lots of fun to pretend to be sophisticated and my mom was such a great teacher that even though I didn't understand the material, I loved her enthusiasm for it and how much the students loved her). It was also a treat to have lunch in the cafeteria with the college students. I realized somewhere around my own college-years that this was an easy sandwich to make and so every once in a while, I whip one up. One of my very best friends even took me to a diner in Boston one time that specializes in Monte Cristos just because she knew of my love for them (and she went to that college my mom taught at) - it did not disappoint.
If you've never had one, here is how you make one:
Bread: I like to use sourdough.
Cheese: Swiss on one side, cheddar on the other.
Meat: Ham and turkey.
Assemble the sandwich and then dip both sides of the sandwich into a beaten egg (beaten with about a tablespoon of milk).
Grill the sandwich on a low-ish heat (my stove runs hot so I go for medium-low) until the egg is cooked and the cheese is melted on both sides.
Remove from heat, sprinkle with powdered sugar.
If you'd like to jazz this up a bit, you can spread anything from orange marmelade to pesto sauce on the bread before assembly. My husband enjoyed his monte cristo dipped in sweet-hot mustard. I am a purist and like mine plain. It's a very versatile sandwich and very easy to make. I highly recommend it!